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Softbank to sell $7.9-billion stake in Alibaba

business Updated: Jun 02, 2016 06:44 IST

TO KYO : SoftBank said on Wednesday that it will sell at least $7.9 billion (Rs53,000 crore) worth of its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, as the Japanese firm looks to pay down a whopping debt load.

The mobile carrier, led by billionaire Masayoshi Son, first invested in Alibaba in 2000, which has since ballooned into what is now considered to be the world’s biggest online retailer.

In recent years, SoftBank launched an acquisition streak that saw it pick up an assortment of firms, including its $16 billion purchase of US-based mobile giant Sprint.

But the buying spree has put pressure on SoftBank’s finances. Its total debt stood at 11.92 trillion yen ($106 billion) at the end of March, nearly tripling from just three years earlier, according to Bloomberg News.

The firm also announced earlier this year it would buy back more than 14% of its stock at a cost of about 500 billion yen.

SoftBank, which is Alibaba’s biggest shareholder, said it had “approved of a series of capital raising transactions, which involve monetising a portion of the shares of Alibaba”.

First Published: Jun 02, 2016 06:44 IST