Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) stock is up more than 65% from its IPO price of $68. But those who invested earlier in the e-commerce giant have raked in a lot more. Russian billionaire investor Alisher Usmanov of USM Holdings told CNBC during an interview that his investment in Alibaba is up “more than 500%,” though he declined to reveal the exact figure.
Usmanov’s stake in Alibaba ‘not big’
Usmanov said he had not sold any of his stake in Alibaba. According to Forbes, the tech investor is worth $18.5 billion. Alibaba was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in September in the biggest IPO in history. The Chinese company is expanding its footprints in international markets by launching the international version of its Taobao platform. Alibaba also plans to make its Singles’ Day an worldwide promotional event by 2019. More than 278 million shoppers placed orders worth $9.34 billion during this year’s Singles’ Day.
Usmanov said his stake in Alibaba was “not big, but big enough for us.” Earlier this year, USM Holdings reduced its stake in Facebook to focus on Chinese technology companies. Besides Alibaba, Usmanov has also invested in the rapidly-growing Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which was valued at about $45 billion in its latest round of funding. Usmanov told CNBC that he was also shifting his focus to technology companies in India, especially in e-commerce space.
Alibaba’s forthcoming lockup expirations
Though Alibaba has been soaring since its IPO. Experts believe that the upward swing could be checked by stock lockup expirations in the next few quarters. About 8 million Alibaba shares will be unlocked in December this year. That’s pretty small considering the company sold 368 million shares in the IPO. But a big unlock is coming in March, when the lockup on 429 million shares will expire.
Many mutual funds are expected to hold on to Alibaba in the near future. It increases demand for the stock. The March lockup expiration might fill the gap between demand and supply. Another 1.8 billion Alibaba shares will get unlocked in September 2015.
Alibaba shares inched up 0.77% to $111.58 in pre-market trading Monday.