Reported £9bn listing of Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba could be world’s largest ever floatation
Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba has confirmed its widely expected IPO on the US stock market, which could possibly raise as much as $15bn (£9bn) for the online retailer, which has little presence outside its homeland.
The move could be the largest company IPO ever seen, and would value Alibaba at between $150 billion and $200 billion, making it potentially more valuable than the likes of Facebook and Amazon.
“Alibaba Group has decided to commence the process of an initial public offering in the United States,” the company said. “This will make us a more global company and enhance the company’s transparency, as well as allow the company to continue to pursue our long-term vision and ideals.”
The company hinted that it would still consider a Chinese listing, “should circumstances permit in the future”, as it respected the support that it had received from both the country.
“We will be constructive toward extending our public status in the China capital market in order to share our growth with the people of China,” the company continued.
Alibaba had been in talks to float on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, but negotiations broke down after regulators expressed concern regarding the company’s management structure, which allows senior executives to retain control of the board of directors, as the Hong Kong Stock Exchange does not permit different classes of shares.
“We wish to thank those in Hong Kong who have supported Alibaba Group,” the firm added. “We respect the viewpoints and policies of Hong Kong and will continue to pay close attention to and support the process of innovation and development of Hong Kong.”
Following the news, Hong Kong Stock Exchange chief executive Charles Li issued a statement saying that “We respect the company’s decision and wish it well.”
“We are proud of our tradition of respect for the rule of law and adherence to principles,” he added, in reference to Alibaba’s insistence on maintaining its management structure.
The Chinese company has looked to assert its strong market position in the last few years. In a strong statement of intent, it recently splashed out $7.1bn to regain a significant part of the stake that Yahoo acquired in the company several years ago.
Yahoo still owns 23 percent of the company, with Japanese company Softbank also having a 37 per cent stake. An IPO could see them selling their shares, which would lead to a major windfall for both.
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