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Alibaba plans up to $5 billion U.S.-dollar bond issuance: term sheet

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Alibaba Group is seen at its office in Beijing

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd plans to raise up to $5 billion through the sale of a U.S. dollar-denominated bond, according to a marketing term sheet seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

The book for the offering will open on Thursday and the deal is expected to be priced on the same day, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Investor response to the deal will test sentiment towards Alibaba amid a regulatory heat for founder Jack Ma’s business empire, triggered by a speech in late October in which he publicly criticised the country’s regulatory system.

That set off a chain of events that resulted in the halting of affiliate Ant Group’s $37 billion stock market listing.

Alibaba on Tuesday beat Wall Street estimates for third-quarter revenue.

“They monitor the markets very closely and they have elected to go now. It’s Alibaba, they will get it done. We have been waiting for this transaction to come for a long time now,” said the person with direct knowledge of the transaction.

The international bond offering will be Alibaba’s third, according to data from Refinitiv, a London Stock Exchange Group business. It sold an $8 billion U.S. dollar bond in 2014, followed by a $7-billion tranche in 2017, the data showed.

The latest offering will have various maturities up to 40 years, the term sheet showed, adding it is expected to include a tranche of sustainability notes due in 2041.

Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and China International Capital Corporation are acting as joint bookrunners for the proposed offering.

Alibaba said in a statement that the bond proceeds would be used in part for projects pertaining to “green buildings, COVID-19 crisis response, renewable energy, and circular economy and design.”

Reuters first reported the bond offering plans in January.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch and Josh Horwitz; Writing by Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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