Is Jack Ma missing? That question is stirring up quite a buzz on Monday, as investors process news that the Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) co-founder and former CEO has been out of the public eye since late October. So what do you need to know now? And what should you do with BABA stock?
With the Jack Ma news in mind, investors should know that the former Alibaba CEO commands quite a reputation. Ma often makes lists of top business leaders, and is known for his entrepreneurship even beyond Alibaba. In fact, in recent years he retired from his role as CEO, leaving the company in the hands of Daniel Zhang and Joseph Tsai. For BABA stock, this means that the current executives are still in place and running the show. However, if the rumors are true, it indicates that trouble is indeed brewing for the Chinese internet giant.
So what else do you need to know? And why do people think Jack Ma is missing? Well, according to recent reports, no one has seen him since the end of October. Additionally, he has not been active on his social media accounts and has missed an anticipated appearance as a judge on a reality TV show.
This disappearance has many investors speculating. Around the time his public absence began, Ant Group was prepping its initial public offering. The Alibaba affiliate and fintech leader was generating enthusiasm, but then out of nowhere, the Ant Group IPO was called off. It turns out that just prior to the IPO news, Ma criticized Chinese regulation in the banking industry.
There is no denying that the called-off Ant Group IPO has weighed on Alibaba. And since then, the Chinese government has opened an antitrust investigation into both for monopolistic practices.
What Does the Jack Ma News Mean for BABA Stock?
As people continue to speculate on the whereabouts of Ma, BABA stock continues to slip. At the time of this writing, shares were down 2.5%. Although the rumors are alarming, investors should remember that right now, we do not have all the details. We do know that Ma has been out of the public eye. We also know that Alibaba and Ant Group are both wading through antitrust issues. How those two pieces fit together remains unclear.
As BDA China Chairman Duncan Clark told Reuters, one possibility is that Ma has been instructed to lay low while the companies sort out the regulatory landscape. Another possibility comes from Danny Vena, who wrote for The Motley Fool that this is not the first time an executive has disappeared in China. According to Vena, Ren Zhiqiang, an executive from Huayuan Real Estate Group, similarly disappeared in 2020. News outlets later learned that he had been arrested and imprisoned on corruption charges.
So what should you do here? Try not to panic, and do your own research. Start with InvestorPlace analyst Louis Navellier who recently reflected on the regulatory threats. Acknowledging the potential for things to get worse, Navellier has a C rating on BABA stock in his Portfolio Grader.
On the date of publication, Sarah Smith did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Sarah Smith is a Web Content Producer with InvestorPlace.com.