Alibaba shares jump after company names new CEO

Alibaba names Daniel Zhang, now COO, as new chief executive

Shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. jumped Thursday after the Chinese e-commerce giant named a new chief executive and posted quarterly results that topped analysts’ forecasts.

The stock was up $6.15, or 7.7%, to $86.15 a share in morning trading, although the stock remained well below its peak of $120 a share reached last fall after the company’s $25-billion initial public offering.

Alibaba’s results also sparked a rally in shares of Yahoo Inc., which owns roughly 15% of Alibaba’s stock. Yahoo’s stock was up $2.20, or 5.3%, to $43.86 a share.

Alibaba said Daniel Zhang, currently the company’s chief operating officer, would become chief executive, effective Sunday.

He succeeds Jonathan Lu, who will remain vice chairman while working with Zhang during the transition. The move “reflects our commitment to continuing to develop strong leadership from within,” said the company, whose online shopping platforms include the Taobao Marketplace.

Alibaba also said its fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 49% from a year earlier to $463 million, or 18 cents a share, based on current exchange rates, mainly due to employee stock awards.

Excluding the stock grants and other special items, Alibaba’s net income in the three months ending  March 31 rose 7% to 48 cents a share. That was well above the 43 cents a share expected by analysts polled by Factset Research.

Alibaba also said fiscal fourth-quarter revenue surged 45% from a year earlier to a better-than-expected $2.81 billion. The company’s revenue for the full fiscal year also rose 45%, to $12.3 billion.

The gains partly reflected Alibaba’s increasing revenue from mobile transactions, which accounted for 51% of the company’s total transactions in the latest quarter, up from 27% a year earlier.

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