Ant Financial Stake Helps Alibaba Beat The Street

Alibaba, China’s leading eCommerce player, announced a 56 percent increase in earnings during its third quarter and revealed it’s acquiring a 33 percent stake in Ant Financial, its payment affiliate.

For its fiscal third quarter, Alibaba reported revenue of $12.8 billion, up 56 percent from a year ago, along with an adjusted EPS (earnings per share) of $1.63. Analysts were looking for revenue of $12.8 billion and earnings of $1.67.

“We had an excellent quarter, with revenue growth of 56 percent year over year. Given our strong performance and clear visibility as we approach the end of the fiscal year, we are taking up our 2018 fiscal year revenue guidance to 55 percent to 56 percent, which is an increase over the top end of the range of 53 percent that we communicated last quarter,” said Alibaba Chief Financial Officer Maggie Wu in a press release. Alibaba said core commerce revenue in the December-ending quarter jumped 57 percent, while revenue at its cloud computing unit jumped 104 percent year over year.

According to Reuters, Alibaba’s 33 percent stake in Ant Financial is seen as an important move toward Ant eventually launching an initial public offering (IPO). Back in 2016, Ant was valued at $60 billion.

Under the deal with Ant Financial, Alibaba will replace the current framework in which it gets 37.5 percent of Ant’s profits on a pre-tax basis. Alibaba will also acquire newly issued shares in exchange for intellectual property rights; the company said there will be no cash impact following the closing of the deal.

“This transaction is a significant step for Alibaba to enhance our long-term strategic relationship with Ant Financial as we continue to pursue our mission to make it easy to do business anywhere,” said Alibaba Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang in prepared remarks. “Importantly, an equity stake in Ant Financial enables Alibaba and our shareholders to participate in the future growth of the financial technology sector.”


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