Why Jack Ma Cashed Out $8.2 Billion Worth in Alibaba Stock

Jack Ma has cut his stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The business magnate, who founded the company more than two decades ago, has trimmed his ownership in the e-commerce giant to 4.8% as of July 2 from 6.2% the prior year, according to Alibaba’s annual filing released late last week. At its current share price, the cashed-out stock is valued at around $8.2 billion.

The filing also showed that executive vice chairman Joseph Tsai reduced his stake in Alibaba from 2.2% to 1.6% — worth about $3.3 billion — during the same period.

The announcement comes 10 months after Ma retired from his role as the Chinese website’s executive chairman. (CEO Daniel Zhang succeeded him in the position.) Although he will continue to be a part of the Alibaba Partnership, a group of executives with influence over the company’s board, Ma has expressed a desire to focus on his philanthropic efforts.

In his departure letter made public in September 2018, when he announced his retirement, the billionaire tech leader said he wanted “to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do. The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things — because what if new dreams can be realized?!” He will also likely ramp up his work with the Jack Ma Foundation, which he founded in 2014 with the goal of improving education in rural China.

Separately, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in April showed that Ma intends to sell up to 21 million shares within a year to support his charitable work.

So far in 2020, Alibaba’s stock has risen nearly 15% to more than $251. Two months ago, the company delivered a fourth-quarter earnings beat as coronavirus-induced lockdowns drove customers online: It logged a 7% gain in earnings per share to $1.30, versus analysts’ estimates of 87 cents a share. Revenues for the three-month period surged 22% to $16.1 billion, topping Wall Street’s bets of $15.2 billion.

At the time, Alibaba recorded outsized growth in its grocery category for the months of February and March, driven by an increased number of online shoppers, higher purchase frequency and larger order size. What’s more, it ended March with 726 million users on its platform — up 72 million from the prior year and 15 million from the previous quarter — while monthly mobile active users improved 2.7% to 846 million.

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