Shareholders vote to take China's Alibaba unit private
Minority shareholders of Alibaba.com on Friday voted in favour of a proposal by its parent Alibaba Group Holding to take the Hong Kong-listed online trading unit private, the company said.
The vast majority of independent shareholders voting in person or by proxy backed the delisting, China's top e-commerce player said in a statement.
"Subject to the scheme becoming effective, Alibaba.com's scheme shareholders will receive a cancellation price of HK$13.50 per share in cash," Alibaba Group said.
The company suspended its shares from trading Friday, at the previous closing price of HK$13.42 each.
According to the proposal, Alibaba Group will buy the 27 percent stake it does not already own in Alibaba.com.
"The price is too low," Liu Nanchang, a 67-year old retired engineer, told Dow Jones Newswires. Liu, who bought the shares last year at around HK$8 each, voted to keep the company public.
The privatisation of the Hong Kong-listed flagship company is part of preparations for the China-based group's expected initial public offering.
After more than a year of tough negotiations, Yahoo! this month said it had agreed to sell its stake in the Alibaba Group back to the company for at least $7.1 billion.
Alibaba Group includes Alibaba.com and Taobao, China's largest online marketplace for consumers with more than 800 million product listings and 370 million registered users.
Potential valuations of the group based on equity sales to finance the Yahoo buyback could be between $35 billion and $50 billion.
Alibaba.com's share price soared more than 40 percent in February after its parent company announced plans to take the firm private for $2.3 billion.
The offer price matches the price at which the unit was listed in 2007.
Group chairman Jack Ma has said going private will allow the company to "make long-term decisions ... free from the pressures that come from having a publicly listed company".
Alibaba.com posted a net profit of 1.71 billion yuan ($271.5 million) in 2011, up 16.6 percent over the previous year, but with weakness in the fourth quarter.
The firm said its fourth-quarter net profit fell 6.0 percent from a year earlier, citing cautiousness due to a weak global environment.
(c) 2012 AFP