Alibaba to Invest $1 Billion in E-Commerce Startup Lazada

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Workers in 2014 at a 50,000-square-foot warehouse outside Jakarta that Lazada uses to send goods throughout Indonesia. ENLARGE
Workers in 2014 at a 50,000-square-foot warehouse outside Jakarta that Lazada uses to send goods throughout Indonesia. Photo: Newley Purnell/The Wall Street Journal

Chinese Internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said Tuesday it would acquire a controlling stake in Lazada Group by buying new shares and stakes held by other shareholders, pouring about $1 billion into the Southeast Asia-focused e-commerce startup.

Alibaba said it is acquiring newly issued Lazada shares for $500 million and spending an additional $500 million to buy out stakes held by existing Lazada shareholders, including Berlin-based tech incubator Rocket Internet AG and British supermarket operator Tesco.

Rocket Internet and Tesco confirmed the sale in separate statements Tuesday.

As growth slows at home, Alibaba has been expanding its investments overseas in recent years. Hangzhou, China-based Alibaba, which operates online and mobile marketplaces, was among a group of investors who last year pumped some $500 million into Indian e-commerce firm Snapdeal.com.

Lazada aims to tap users in populous Southeast Asia, home to roughly 600 million people. It operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Newley Purnell at newley.purnell @wsj.com



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