Canada Pension Plan Investment Board appears to like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. enough to hold on to the stock it already owns through this week's blockbuster initial public offering, but not so much that it is lining up to buy a lot more.
CPPIB spokeswoman Linda Sims declined to comment on the fund manager's investment plans for Alibaba, beyond confirming that CPPIB has put $160-million (U.S.) into Alibaba. Its stake is worth many times that now.
"We do not comment on holding periods," she said.
That suggests CPPIB is standing pat on its holding in the Chinese e-commerce company, which is to go public Friday.
The Toronto-based fund usually doesn't talk about investments unless there are big changes. When the pension manager makes a large secondary investment, there is often an announcement. Similarly, if there is a large realization resulting from a sale, the fund is open in revealing that it is getting out of a high-profile investment.
The fact that there is neither, in this case, is a strong indication that CPPIB is simply standing still.
It may not have to wait long to sell, though, if the stock of Alibaba jumps in the aftermarket. The Wall Street Journal reported that early investors will not be tightly bound by lockups that prevent them from selling soon after the IPO.
CPPIB has direct control over most of its investment in Alibaba.
The pension fund manager's investment directly is $136-million, which came through two share purchases in 2011 and 2012. The fund also made an indirect investment of about $24-million in 2006 through a fund run by private equity firm Silver Lake.
Silver Lake, as the manager of the fund, will make its own decision on what to do with the fund's shares.
Silver Lake is reportedly selling about 7 per cent of its holdings in the offering.
Senior CPPIB executives have signalled that in general, they believe that many asset markets are expensive.
CPPIB private equity head Andre Bourbonnais told Reuters Thursday that the reason the firm had not made any sizable direct investments since its purchase of Neiman Marcus in 2013 is because the fund must be disciplined with prices.
In June, CPPIB chief executive officer Mark Wiseman told the Globe and Mail that this is the toughest market he has seen in his 15 year career as an investor for private market prices.