Ali Baba (BABA) plans to sell its 5% stake in Mango Excellent Media, according to a statement from the media company on Thursday. It owns Mango TV, which is very popular for its variety shows in China. China’s second largest state-owned enterprise television network, Hunan Broadcasting System, Mango control with a participation of 56%.
The press release also said that Alibaba request a waiver of an agreement not to sell the shares for one year. The e-commerce giant bought them just nine months ago for 6.2 billion yuan ($ 960 million).
Based on the Mango Excellent share price on Friday, Alibaba has has already suffered a theoretical loss of about 2 billion yuan ($ 320 million) from the investment.
The statement provided no reason for Alibaba’s plans to leave Mango. Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The planned sale comes as Alibaba, founded in 1999 by Jack Ma, faces enormous political and regulatory pressure from Beijing, which has stepped up its crackdown on the internet industry since late last year. .
Beijing is increasingly concerned about the influence that large private tech companies have over media, finance, data and other sensitive industries, and how entrenched they are in daily life in China thanks to the news. , digital payment applications and other services.
While Alibaba’s main business is e-commerce, the company
has expanded into a variety of industries
over the years. It has built up a large media empire, holding major stakes in the country’s most popular social media or online video platforms, such as Weibo (BM)
, Youku, bilibili (BILI)
, Xiaohongshu and Qutoutiao (QTT)
, as well as in China Business Network, a state-owned financial media.
Alibaba also owns the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading English-language newspaper, which he bought in 2015.
Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Beijing had asked Alibaba to divest its media assets because officials were concerned about its influence on public opinion.
In November, regulators suspended a much-anticipated IPO by Alibaba’s financial subsidiary, Ant Group. In December, President Xi Jinping said tougher anti-monopoly rules against internet companies would be one of his important targets for 2021. A few days later, regulators announced an antitrust investigation into Alibaba.
In April, Alibaba was fined a record $ 2.8 billion by the antitrust watchdog. Ant Group has also been downsized and ordered by banking regulators to review its operations.
Ma – who retired from the company in 2019 – has remained largely out of sight through it all. He disappeared from public view for months before appearing briefly in a video earlier this year to speak to teachers at a philanthropic event.