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Alibaba to buy 33% of spinoff Ant Financial

Deal comes amid robust quarterly revenue growth and seen as groundwork for IPO

Jack Ma Yun, executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding, speaks at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 24.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- China's largest e-commerce company, Alibaba Group Holding, said Thursday that it has agreed to buy a 33% stake in Ant Financial Services Group, a mobile payments affiliate controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma Yun.

Under a deal announced the same day as better-than-expected quarterly earnings, Alibaba will buy new shares in the operator of the popular Alipay payment service in exchange for certain intellectual property rights owned by the e-commerce giant. There will be no cash impact on Alibaba following the closing, it said.

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