Alibaba Group lashed back at a New York Times story about its supposed close ties to China’s political elite, saying its relationship is with the market.
In a report on Monday, the Times said Alibaba raised part of the money in a US$7.6 billion deal in 2012 to buy back half of Yahoo’s stake in the company by selling shares to select investors including Boyu Capital, Citic Capital Holdings and CDB Capital, the private investment arm of China Development Bank.
It said senior executives in these companies included family members of powerful officials in the ruling Communist Party.
The report cited documents purporting to show a fourth investor who bought Alibaba shares during the fundraising was New Horizon Capital, a private equity firm co-founded by the son of Wen Jiabao, China’s prime minister at the time.
“Such politically connected investors will most likely reap a bonanza when Alibaba goes public, an offering that analysts estimate could value the company at more than US$200 billion,” the report said.
On Tuesday, Alibaba issued a statement in which it accused the Times of erroneous reporting and bias.
It said Boyu Capital, Citic Capital Holdings and CDB Capital hold 0.55 percent, 1.1 percent and 0.47 percent of Alibaba Group respectively, and their stakes in the company were disclosed as part of the Yahoo share buyback.
“We understand that particular international media has constant skepticism and judgment on Chinese society and enterprises. But today, the global community has to get used to a fact, that is China can and has produced a number of international enterprises that are grown in the market and totally serve the market,” Alibaba said in the statement.
“Our only background is the market. As to the different kinds of background attached to the company by other parties, we did not, do not and will not need such background,” it said.
Alibaba has delayed its US market debut a month to September.
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