Business

Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba confirms U.S. IPO

Opening of the Alibaba Group's Taiwan branch.

Above: Opening of the Alibaba Group's Taiwan branch.

Image Credit: Rico Shen

Alibaba wants to become a more global company, reads a statement posted on the company’s blog Sunday — so it’s decided to begin the process of an initial public offering in the United States.

The Alibaba IPO is expected to be one of the largest of all time. It could raise more than the $16 billion Facebook scooped up in its 2012 IPO — and if it doesn’t it’s bound to come close. Analysts believe the company could reach a valuation north of $130 billion.

The e-commerce giant had been rumored to be pushing for an IPO in New York, as opposed to Hong Kong.

Alibaba is often compared to Amazon, but with so many working parts, it also resembles sections of PayPal and Google. The huge portion of its revenue comes from product purchases; the company generated a massive $2.8 billion in net income through September, according to quarterly filings by Yahoo, with revenue in that period amounting to $6.7 billion. Total gross merchandise traded on Alibaba last year was around $240 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal — more than double Amazon’s roughly $100 billion.

Those numbers have all of Wall Street salivating. All the major banks are reportedly jockeying for a leading role in the IPO. At least five — Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley — are expected to work with Alibaba on the IPO.

In choosing New York, Alibaba has snubbed its hometown market, but the company’s statement referenced the possibility of a dual listing at some future date. (We’ve included the full statement below.)

Alibaba Group has decided to commence the process of an initial public offering in the United States.  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.  Should circumstances permit in the future, 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.

We wish to thank those in Hong Kong who have supported Alibaba Group.  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.

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