Joe Tsai Taps Morgan Stanley to Sell $260m Alibaba Stake

JOE TSAI (picture) has indicated he plans to sell a major chunk of his Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. stake through Morgan Stanley as he increasingly shifts his fortune away from the e-commerce giant.

A holding company for Alibaba’s co-founder filed this month to sell 3 million of the Chinese firm’s American depositary receipts — roughly 8% of Tsai’s holding — through the New York-based bank, according to data from The Washington Service, which said the document indicated a trading plan. The stake is worth about $260 million, based on Thursday’s closing price.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment, while representatives for Alibaba and Tsai didn’t immediately reply to Bloomberg inquiries. 

Tsai has been ramping up his investments outside of Alibaba through his Hong Kong-based family office, Blue Pool Capital, which oversees holdings in US stocks, venture capital and real estate.

The firm paid $188 million in January for a penthouse previously owned by Dan Och at 220 Central Park South on New York’s Billionaires Row and emerged this year as an investor in five-star European hotels. Led by Oliver Weisberg, Blue Pool also oversees Tsai’s sports investments, including the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, and has more than two-dozen staff worldwide.

Tsai, Alibaba’s executive vice chairman, is worth $5.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The 58-year-old, a Canadian citizen born in Taiwan, quit a $700,000-a-year job at an investment firm to join Alibaba in 1999 for a monthly salary of $50. He soon started raising money from investors around the world, helping the e-commerce company become the giant it is now.

Tsai sold Alibaba stock when it listed in 2014 and has since cut his holding further. He disposed of shares worth at least $3.3 billion between 2017 and 2021 for wealth planning and philanthropic commitments.

His holding company announced a trading plan similar to the latest one in 2020, and he completed the sale of 3 million Alibaba shares within that year. Such plans usually provide details on how the transactions can be done and give a timeline, though the seller could decide not to go ahead or sell fewer shares.

While Tsai’s roughly 1.4% stake in the e-commerce company is his biggest listed asset, the Brooklyn Nets and the team’s arena now make up the bulk of his fortune, according to Bloomberg’s wealth index. Alibaba’s ADRs have fallen 27% this year. – Bloomberg