SEC Focuses in on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) Investigation

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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) is currently under investigation from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and regulators are placing more focus especially on the most business-intense areas.

The Chinese company has been under the watchful eyes of regulators in the US ever since it recorded the largest listing in history with $25 billion in the New York Stock Exchange two years ago. Alibaba revealed on Wednesday in its annual report that it is currently facing investigations by the SEC. The regulatory authority is probing into the firm to establish whether there are any instances where it has violated federal securities regulations.

The company stated in the filing that the investigations were launched a few months ago this year and they are taking particular interest in the company accounts of the Cainiao Network logistics venture. The probe is also analyzing the transactions that have been traversing between the company’s numerous businesses. The SEC is also looking into the Singles Day sales and the unaudited numbers associated with the festival which took place on November 11.

The company made $14.3 billion on the Singles Day that took place last year. Alibaba uses GMV as its preferred accounting principal metric. The US regulators want to target Non-GAAP metrics which is why Alibaba has become a target. Paul Gillis, an accounting professor at Peking University, stated that the metrics will not present a problem for Alibaba unless the company was aware that the GMV was overstated.

Anne Stevenson-Yang from China’s J Capital Research stated that the Chinese online retail firm is overstated by a third but Alibaba claims that the GMV is not overstated. The company stated that it willingly disclosed the SEC probe and the regulator also stated that the investigations do not mean that the firm has violated any securities regulations. The news about the probe had a negative impact on the stock performance of the firm but the effect was mild and the stock gained 2% the following day.

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