Bloomberg News

Alibaba Said to Sign $3 Billion Loan Agreement With Banks

February 21, 2012

(Adds details of loan’s potential purpose in fourth paragraph.)

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. signed a $3 billion loan today with six banks, according to two people with direct knowledge of the deal.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., Credit Suisse Group AG, DBS Bank Ltd., Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, and Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. are providing the funds, the people said, asking not to be identified as details are private.

Alibaba Group, China’s biggest e-commerce company, owns more than 70 percent of Alibaba.com, which has been suspended from trading in Hong Kong since Feb. 9 as the company prepares a statement about a transaction involving its parent. Yahoo! Inc. is the biggest shareholder in closely-held Alibaba Group with a stake of about 40 percent.

The funds are being borrowed for a potential deal involving Yahoo, which could also include buying back Alibaba.com, another person familiar with the matter said on Feb. 17. The loan includes a one-year bridge facility and a three-year term facility, one of the people said today.

John Spelich, a Hong Kong-based spokesman at Alibaba, didn’t immediately return calls to his office and mobile phone seeking comment on the loan’s signing.

A $3 billion facility would be the biggest in the U.S. currency in Asia outside of Japan since May, when Glencore International AG’s Singapore unit signed a $8.34 billion loan due 2014 to refinance debt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That loan, organized as part of a larger refinancing transaction, pays a margin over the London interbank offered rate of 200 basis points, the data show.

Syndicated loans in the region total $11 billion since January, versus $37 billion the same period of 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the slowest start to a year since 2005, the data show.

Alibaba.com reported quarterly profit that missed analysts’ estimates today as anti-fraud measures cut the number of vendors using its e-commerce site for exports.

--With assistance from Mark Lee in Hong Kong. Editor: Katrina Nicholas

To contact the reporter on this story: Wendy Mock in Hong Kong at wmock3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shelley Smith at ssmith118@bloomberg.net


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