Some shareholders of Alibaba Groupconverted 1.3 billion of Alibaba’s New York-listed shares into the company’s Hong Kong-listed shares, the biggest such move since the Chinese tech giant completed its secondary offering in Hong Kong about a year ago, reported Caixin.
Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed shares deposited at Citibank, the depositary bank for Alibaba’s American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) and Hong Kong ordinary shares, increased by about 1.26 billion shares Nov. 5, data from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s CCASS shareholding information system shows. As the Hong Kong exchange completes securities and monetary settlements two days after the trade date, the move occurred Nov. 3.
The position change was completed in one day and involved a large number of shares, though the stockholders involved haven’t been identified. Considering Alibaba’s relatively dispersed shareholding structure, only top shareholder SoftBank would have the capacity if the move involved a single shareholder. But it’s also possible that Citibank processed position changes by several shareholders as one transaction.
Since CCASS has no record of shareholders increasing or decreasing their holdings of Alibaba’s Hong Kong shares, the change indicates that Alibaba’s existing shareholders converted positions rather than trading shares. After the move, the number of registered shares in CCASS increased to 28.9% of Alibaba’s total global equity from 22.22%.