Alibaba (BABA), the global leader by volume in the e-commerce category, issued a $25 billion IPO in September 2014, offering 14.9% of its company. Some Wall Street analysts believe Alibaba is a game changer in the world of e-commerce for several reasons. First, Alibaba has control of the Chinese e-commerce market and is growing globally, and second it offers a suite of products (the "ecosystem") to any storefront that wants to become a strong e-market player. The excitement about Alibaba's businesses translated into an extremely over subscribed IPO and a strong launch in the public market. At a price of around $186.46 as of November 2017, shares are well beyond their post-IPO high of $115. 

Alibaba Group Holding Limited was founded in 1999 and has reached a market capitalization of $470.2 Billion as of November 1, 2017, according to Yahoo Finance. Its key business segments include mobile media and entertainment, cloud computing and core commerce along with other developing initiatives.      

The Top Five

In addition to the public shareholders, BABA has several prominent major stakeholders.  The following table details the top four largest shareholders according to the latest annual report.


% Shares Outstanding

Softbank 30.07
Yahoo 15.34
Jack Yun Ma, Executive Chairman 7.0
Joseph C. Tsai, Executive Vice-Chairman 2.5

Source:  Alibaba Prospectus 

Softbank and Yahoo have significant interests at 30.07% and 15.34% respectively.  These two entities, in addition to Founder and Executive Chairman, Jack Yun Ma, have controlling interests in the company.  Softbank is an information technology company based in Japan, with four main segments—mobile, Sprint, fixed-line, and internet. The internet division operates Yahoo! Japan, and engages in e-commerce. Yahoo!, which holds 15.34% of BABA shares outstanding, is a technology company located in the United States. It is well known for its Yahoo! search and mail options as well as its websites, such as Yahoo! finance.  

The next two largest shareholders are company insiders, both with the company since its founding days in 1999. First is Jack Yun Ma, Executive Chairman, who owns 178,272,449 ordinary shares or 7.0% as of June 2017 according to the company's annual report. Second is Joseph C. Tsai, Executive Vice-Chairman, who owns 65,144,622 ordinary shares or 2.5%  as of June 2017. 

The Bottom Line

The top three BABA shareholders are controlling more that 52% of the shares outstanding. In addition to the two top executives, company insiders—all directors and executive officers as a group—own 10.6% of the company's shares as of June 2017. 






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