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股东再吃亏,阿里高层也不会亏

Shawn Tully 2014年09月19日

如果今后几年阿里巴巴在股市表现低迷,该公司高管团队就能趁势给自己大发股票,从而积累更巨额的财富。

聚焦阿里巴巴上市专题

· 阿里上千员工或分得人均数千万财富
· 阿里的收购野心及其背后的风险
· 阿里巴巴能从亚马逊和谷歌的IPO中借鉴什么
· 硅谷怎么看阿里巴巴?
· 阿里巴巴IPO:对投资者来说这是一笔“捡漏”的买卖

    中国电子商务巨擘阿里巴巴公司(Alibaba)于9月19日上市交易,如果你打算买入其股票,请记住我的忠告:该公司管理层有强大的动力为自己,而非为股东效力。

    如果今后几年阿里巴巴在股市表现低迷,该公司高管团队就能趁势给自己大发股票,从而积累更巨额的财富。他们怎么都不会亏。既然如此,他们真的会为了股东的利益不辞辛劳吗?别指望这个了。

    阿里巴巴的公司治理政策与众不同,制定薪酬规则的权力完全掌握在管理层手中。其薪酬规则受到了股东权利捍卫者的广泛批评,甚至激起了众怒。阿里巴巴有一个绝对权力团体,即阿里巴巴合伙人,其中包括24名阿里巴巴集团高层,以及6名来自公司电子商务合作伙伴的高管,该公司多数董事的提名权完全掌握在这个团体手中。因此,上市以后,阿里巴巴管理层可以随心所欲地给自己发工资。以他们目前的薪酬判断,届时他们的收入会令美国大型科技企业和华尔街公司的同行相形见绌,其收入之高,可能是后者连想都不敢想的。

    9月5日,阿里巴巴提交了F-1A格式招股说明书,其中详细披露了该公司过去和将来支付薪酬的方式。从招股书第156页“以股票结算的捐赠支出”项下的介绍可以看出,该公司创始人有权决定如何支配股东资金。据这段文字介绍,2013年10月,阿里巴巴董事会将5000万股期权赠送给了由董事长马云和副董事长蔡崇信指定的慈善基金。顺便说一下,招股书自始至终将二人分别称为“Jack”和“Joe”,这一做法同样另类。

    这批期权采用立即授予方式,行权价格为每股25美元。就算阿里巴巴以每股68美元的价格,也就是发行价区间的上限开盘,上述慈善基金仍将持有价值34亿美元的阿里巴巴股份,占流通股的2%。做慈善是好事,特别是如果能用股东的钱来大做慈善就更棒了。

    If you’re thinking about buying Alibaba shares once they start trading on September 19, keep this warning in mind: The management of the Chinese digital shopping colossus has a powerful incentive to work not for you, but for themselves.

    The Alibaba brass can amass even more fabulous riches if their shares perform poorly in the years ahead—by handing themselves gigantic equity grants. They can’t lose. So will they really sweat to make you a winner? Don’t count on it.

    Alibaba’s management has total authority to write their own rules on pay because of its unorthodox governance policies. Those rules have drawn widespread criticism, even outrage, from champions of shareholder rights. An all-powerful group called the Alibaba Partnership, composed of 24 managers and 6 executives of its e-commerce partners, holds exclusive authority to nominate a majority of the firm’s directors. So Alibaba’s management can pay themselves whatever they want once it’s a public company. And, judging from what they’re paying themselves now, those numbers will dwarf anything witnessed in the annals of Big Tech, Wall Street, or anything the hired help in either of those places conjured in their craziest daydreams.

    Alibaba’s approach to compensation, both past and future, is on full display in its most recent IPO prospectus, the FORM F-1A, filed on September 5. A clue to the founders’ discretion in dispensing shareholder funds comes on page 156, under the heading “Equity-settled Donation Expense.” The section states that in October 2013, the board granted 50 million stock options to charities designated by chairman Jack Ma and vice-chairman Joe Tsai—by the way, they’re referred to as “Jack” and “Joe” throughout the filing, in another unorthodox touch.

    The strike price on the shares is $25, and all the options vest immediately. Even if Alibaba shares open at $68, the high end of the pricing range, Joe and Jack’s foundations will hold $3.4 billion in Alibaba stock and own 2% of the outstanding shares. It’s great to be charitable, especially if you can be extra-charitable with your shareholders’ money.

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