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The Alibaba Group, the hot Chinese internet giant, raised $21.8 billion in its initial public offering. Trading is expected to begin on Friday.

Citing unnamed sources, the New York Times said that Alibaba has priced its U.S. shares at $68 each, giving the online marketplace operator a value of $168 billion. That’s more than eBay, Twitter, and LinkedIn combined, and it will make the Alibaba IPO one of the biggest in history.

The value of the offering surpassed those from Facebook and General Motors. The stock will trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The newspaper said that the stock sale marks a coming of age for the Internet in China, where less than half of the population of 1.4 billion is online. The waterfall effect of the new wealth for Alibaba, its investors, and employees could be prodigious.

Among the billionaires to be minted by the IPO: Jack Ma, a former English teacher who started the company in 1999. His holdings are worth an estimated $13.2 billion, and he will have sold about $867 million in the deal. Yahoo will be a big beneficiary, raising about $8.3 billion by selling its shares in Alibaba.

The company is scheduled to begin trading on the Big Board under the ticker symbol “BABA.”


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