Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma and vice chairman Joe Tsai are to spend some $500 million of their own cash to buy shares in the company.
The purchase by the pair is part of a $4 billion share buyback program announced by the company last August.
The move is intended to show their continued confidence in the company, which sees its stock trading slightly uncomfortably close to the $68 offer price at which the company went public in New York in September 2014. In early New York trading on Monday the shares were up by some 2.5% on the news.
International investors have fallen out of love with Chinese equities since last year, when it became clear that the Chinese economic slowdown could have global repercussions.
Late last week financial media reported that Alibaba was seeking a $3 billion-$4 billion loan that it could use to fuel acquisitions. The company had some $18 billion in cash on its books at the end of the year. But the loan talk and financial analysts’ recent calculations suggest that Alibaba is preparing to accelerate the pace of expansion through acquisition.
The Alibaba name has, inevitably, been linked as a possible suitor for Paramount, the Hollywood studio for which parent company Viacom last week said it was exploring strategic options.