E-commerce giant Alibaba Group’s proposed investment in department store operator Intime Retail (Group) Co. Ltd. (01833.HK) may be deemed by Hong Kong regulators as “presumed… to be in concert” with Intime chairman Shen Guojun, as both parties will hold equal 26 percent stakes if the planned deal goes through, Apple Daily reported Monday. The move could eventually force Alibaba to launch a mandatory offer for the rest of Intime, it said.
Sources from within Intime were quoted as saying that they are hiring an independent financial consultant to ensure that Alibaba’s stake purchase can proceed as planned.
Alibaba had earlier proposed to take 9.9 percent stake in Intime and subscribe to convertible bonds that could take the stake further to 26.13 percent, in a deal worth HK$5.3 billion. Chairman Shen Guojun is the largest shareholder of Intime, with a 26.53 percent stake. Intime boasts 36 department stores involved in sales of high-end luxury products in China.
Alibaba chairman Jack Ma and Intime’s Shen Guojun, both of whom hail from Zhejiang province, have cooperated on several joint ventures over the last few years. The pair set up Yunfeng capital, an investment fund, some four years ago, and they teamed up to launch the China Smart Logistics Network last year via Cai Niao, in which both hold stakes.
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