Investors are beginning to question whether Alibaba Group  (Alibaba stock forecast) Holding can pull off a jumbo dollar bond in coming weeks given the uncertainty around co-founder Jack Ma and the Trump administration's crackdown on Chinese companies.


The potential sale of as much as $8 billion in offshore debt was planned for as early as this week; however, a marketing memorandum hasn't yet been received by (Alibaba stock forecast)  prospective investors, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as they're not authorized to speak publicly. A spokesperson for Alibaba had no immediate comment on the progress of the sale.

That silence is leading investors to question whether the e-commerce giant will proceed with a sale at an increasingly challenging time. Reports of a potential U.S. investment ban this week also prompted spreads on some of Alibaba's dollar notes to hit their widest in six months, Bloomberg-compiled prices show. And with the (Alibaba stock forecast)  leadership of President-Elect Joe Biden days away, there's a good case to hold off until his China policy becomes clear.

"If I were the underwriter I would wait until the Biden Administration gets underway and perhaps take a more considered tone with China," said Geof Marshall, who (Alibaba stock forecast)  runs the fixed-income team at CI Global Asset Management's Signature Global Asset Management, which has about C$30 billion ($24 billion) under management.


The Trump administration has taken several steps against Chinese companies, including banning apps from Alibaba affiliate Ant Group and Tencent Holdings. U.S. officials deliberated but ultimately decided against banning American investment in Alibaba and Tencent, removing a cloud of uncertainty over Asia's two biggest (Alibaba stock forecast)  corporations, Bloomberg reported earlier Thursday. Spreads on Alibaba's dollar bonds tightened as much as 8 basis points Thursday morning, according to credit traders.

A debt sale of this magnitude would have been a show of strength for the company, signaling global investor confidence and reaffirming a key channel of funding for the firm. The global debt offering was set for at least $5 billion but could have raised as much as $8 billion depending on the reception, Bloomberg reported previously.(Alibaba stock forecast)   That would match Alibaba's record-setting debut in 2014, the largest offshore bond sale by a Chinese issuer.

Mr Ma hasn't been seen in public since his Internet empire was hit with a growing antitrust crackdown and the suspension of Ant Group's $35 billion IPO, while he (Alibaba stock forecast)  castigated regulators for focusing too much on risk and stifling innovation. His absence from public view may deter potential investors already worried about the storm that has engulfed one of China's most powerful corporations.