The China International Capital Corp. (CICC) logo is displayed at a securities brokerage branch in Beijing, China. (Photographer: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg)

Alibaba Raises Stake in Top Chinese Investment Bank CICC

(Bloomberg) -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has acquired another chunk of shares in China International Capital Corp. for about HK$1.8 billion ($230 million), enlarging its stake in a prestigious investment bank that can help propel deals and financial transactions around the world.

The e-commerce giant bought 117.1 million Hong Kong-listed shares at HK$15.50 apiece on Feb. 14, CICC said in a filing. That expanded its stake to about 11.7 percent of stock listed in the city from roughly 5 percent, almost matching Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s 12 percent. CICC’s Hong Kong shares leapt as much as 11.1 percent Wednesday, marking their biggest intraday jump in more than a year.

Alibaba joins arch-rival Tencent as a backer of CICC, once dubbed China’s Goldman Sachs after it brought some of the country’s largest state-run firms to market. The financial house however has been reducing its dependence on volatile investment banking fees and expanding its business catering to rich individuals. In 2017, it completed a $2.5 billion purchase of China Investment Securities Co., plunging into the retail investor market.

Set up in 1995, CICC was part-owned by New York-based Morgan Stanley until 2010. Its shares were listed in Hong Kong in 2015. Overall, Alibaba now holds about 4.84 percent of CICC’s total issued shares on a fully diluted basis, an Alibaba representative said.

“Its strength as a boutique investment bank is unparalleled domestically. It will be a good complement to Alibaba, which is doing many deals and can use a lot of advisory service,” said Richard Cao, a Shenzhen-based analyst at Guotai Junan Securities Co. “The purchase serves Alibaba’s business strategy.”

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