Alibaba (ABABA) isn't scared to go off the beaten path during its pre-IPO investment spree: The Chinese e-commerce giant is spending $192M to buy a 50% stake in Guangzhou Evergrande, China's most successful soccer club.
"We're not investing in football, we're investing in entertainment ... Alibaba's future strategies are health and entertainment," says founder Jack Ma. With the club set to invite 20 "strategic investors" to buy 2% stakes, Alibaba's stake will eventually be lowered to 30%.
Xu Jiayin, chairman of the company that owns Evergrande, says the deal was hatched only on Monday. "I got Jack drunk in Hong Kong and afterwards asked him if he'd invest, and he said 'okay' ... The discussions were finished within 15 minutes yesterday morning."
Yesterday: Alibaba reportedly eying "lucky" 8/8 IPO