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Institutional Investors Contemplate Jack Ma’s Long Exit from Alibaba

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Institutional investors in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) are digesting the news that co-founder Jack Ma is planning to leave his position as chairman to focus on education and philanthropy. Some of these investors in Alibaba include Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, Baillie Gifford, and BlackRock. Ma, who was CEO as recently as 2013, has been the public face of Alibaba since its founding in 1999. It is China’s most successful tech company, and its meteoric rise made Jack Ma famous.

Ma was once a little-known English language teacher, with no background in the tech industry. Yet, during the modern internet’s nascent stage, he was a critical component of the team that built the corporation, now worth US$ 500 billion. Alibaba was groundbreaking, guided by the idea of helping Chinese manufacturers sell abroad. Due, in part, to Alibaba’s efforts, Americans imported vast sums of Chinese goods since it opened for business. That figure stands at over US$ 505 billion a year from November 2018. Recent tariffs will impact over US$ 250 billion of that amount, including electronics, consumer goods, and chemicals. Alibaba could be insulated from the shock since it has diversified, as mentioned on its website, by creating new “wholesale and retail online marketplaces as well as businesses in cloud computing, digital media and entertainment, innovation initiatives and others.”

Ma, who is worth US$ 36 billion, shared his thoughts in a letter to shareholders: “I have put a lot of thought and preparation into this succession plan for ten years. I am delighted to announce the plan today, thanks to the support of the Alibaba Partnership and our board of directors.” Ma suggested that his departure should be seen as good news for stakeholders in the company: “This transition demonstrates that Alibaba has stepped up to the next level of corporate governance from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on systems of organizational excellence and a culture of talent development.” Ma is not going anywhere yet. He will remain on the Alibaba board into 2020. Then, Alibaba’s CEO, Daniel Zhang, will become executive chairman. Zhang has been CEO since 2015, and he is credited with building the company’s largest online sales event. He has also spearheaded Alibaba’s international expansion. Ma was quick to award kudos to Zhang, writing that “His analytical mind is unparalleled, he holds dear our mission and vision, he embraces responsibility with passion, and he has the guts to innovate and test creative business models.”

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PSP Investments and Blue Sky Alternative Investments End Strategic Partnership Agreement

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Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited informed Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) that it agreed to terminate its strategic agreement effective March 31, 2019. In December 2017, Blue Sky Alternative Investments forged an agreement with PSP Investments to assist in committing capital in a number of agricultural investments.

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Yield-Hungry Korean Insurance Capital Backs TSX Broadway

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Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd., the Seoul-based investment banking firm, has provided a US$ 375 million loan for a redevelopment in New York’s Times Square. It joins L & L Holding Company, Maefield Development, and Fortress Investment Group who are bringing the development known as TSX Broadway to life. The building is at 1568 Broadway in Manhattan. TSX Broadway, a US$ 2.5 billion project when all equity financing is added in, will allow for renovations and expansion of the 46-storey building. An LED screen, which is not an uncommon sight in the Big Apple, will wrap around the corner of the tower. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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OFFICIALS: Saudi Crown Prince Denies Interest in Acquiring Manchester United

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The Saudi Arabian government dispelled rumors that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will acquire football club Manchester United. However, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) had talks regarding sponsorship with the football club. Manchester United signed a partnership deal with Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority in 2017.

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