May 25, 2012 / 2:13 AM / 7 years ago says 83.8 percent of shareholders back privatization

A man walks past a logo of Alibaba (China) Technology Co. Ltd at its headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province August 11, 2011. REUTERS/Steven Shi

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Ltd 1688.HK, Hong Kong-listed unit of China’s Alibaba Group ALIAB.UL, said on Friday that 83.8 percent of its shareholders have approved a $2.5 billion buyout offer by the parent to take the company private, in a decision that was widely expected.

Alibaba Group, in which Yahoo Inc YHOO.O owns a 40 percent stake, is offering investors HK$13.50 ($1.74) per share in cash to take private, the same price as the company’s initial public offering in 2007.

Shares of, which were suspended on Friday, closed on Thursday at HK$13.42.

Jack Ma, who founded an e-commerce empire from a single website, said the move to take private was to ensure the company could take long-term decisions that would benefit customers.

For the past few quarters,’s results have been weighed down by economic uncertainty and declining subscriber numbers as the company moved towards a value-added-services business model.

Earlier this week, Yahoo and Alibaba reached an agreement for Yahoo to sell as much as half of its 40 percent stake in Alibaba Group for $7.1 billion, ending years of fractious talks over how to extract value from its most prized asset.

($1 = 7.7633 Hong Kong dollars)

Reporting By Melanie Lee and Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Chris Lewis

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