Alibaba, others weigh bids for Unisplendour stake worth up to $10.4b: Sources

Tsinghua Unigroup is looking to sell its 46.45 per cent stake in Unisplendour as more of its bond payments are coming due. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding and Chinese state-backed firms are exploring bids for a stake in Unisplendour Corp, a cloud computing infrastructure firm, that could fetch as much as US$7.7 billion (S$10.4 billion), people familiar with the matter said.

A successful transaction for Alibaba would be the first since Chinese regulators began to clamp down on the tech sector, beginning with the scuppering of affiliate Ant Financial's mega listing late last year.

Alibaba itself was hit with a record US$2.8 billion fine in April for anti-monopoly violations.

Chip conglomerate Tsinghua Unigroup, which is saddled with some US$31 billion in debt, is looking to divest its 46.45 per cent stake in Shenzhen-listed Unisplendour as more of its bond payments are coming due, the sources said.

Potential suitors include Wuxi Industry Development Group, a firm owned by the government of the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi, Beijing government-owned Beijing Electronics Holdings and state-backed semiconductor investment fund JAC Capital, said the sources.

If Alibaba submits an offer due by the July 20 deadline for binding bids, it will team up with a firm owned by a local government, said two of the people. They did not disclose the name of the potential partner.

Alibaba meanwhile on Tuesday (July 13) announced it will anchor a fund for start-ups in China's Greater Bay Area.

The fund will have a targeted size of HK$2.2 billion (S$382 million) and is expected to close in the second half of next year, the company added.

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