SoftBank adds to Alibaba sale, bringing total to $10 billion

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SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) said on Friday it was selling a further $1.1 billion of its shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N), bringing the total it has sold in the Chinese e-commerce company to $10 billion.

Separately, SoftBank agreed to sell most of its remaining stake in mobile gaming company Gungho Online Entertainment (3765.T) back to the company for 73 billion yen ($685.38 million), Gungho said.

SoftBank, Alibaba’s top shareholder, on Wednesday said it would sell at least $7.9 billion of shares in Alibaba. That marks SoftBank’s first sale of shares in the Chinese company since it began investing in Alibaba in 2000. The two companies said they would maintain a strategic partnership.

SoftBank said it was exercising a greenshoe option to sell more shares in Alibaba. SoftBank, which invests in telecoms and internet companies, sold more shares because of strong demand, a spokesman said.

The sale is expected to help reduce debt at Softbank, which also holds a majority stake in U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Corp (S.N). Sprint is loss-making and has embarked on a cost-cutting drive.

Singapore state funds bought $1 billion of Alibaba shares in part of the SoftBank sale, Alibaba said on Wednesday.

($1 = 106.5100 yen)

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Additional reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida; Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Jane Merriman and Leslie Adler)