In a post on its corporate blog, China’s Internet e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba Group confirmed what had already been widely reported several times and, really, for months now: That its much anticipated IPO would take place in the United States.
The reason for the move, Alibaba said, was to “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.”
Whether it will pick Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange is still to be determined.
The public offering could be one of the biggest ever in the U.S., with some estimates putting its valuation at a hefty $130 billion, raising $16 billion. That’s obviously good news for Yahoo, which holds a 24 percent stake in Alibaba.
In fact, Alibaba’s success has already been a boon to the Silicon Valley Internet giant, boosting its shares hugely, even as its core business has languished. But who needs a U.S. turnaround when Alibaba execs are doing all the work for you?
Interestingly, sources close to the company said Yahoo will be among the few sellers in the offering — it is compelled to unload slightly less than half its shares by a previous agreement. Some think the lack of equity available to new investors could spike the price even higher.
Those sources also added that while some think Alibaba could go public by summer, it could delay the offering until the early fall. That means that a filing will come around late March or April.
Whatever the timing, the IPO will also set off a feeding frenzy on Wall Street, as the big investment banks vie for a piece of the action. (Hey boys, I’ve known Alibaba bigs Jack Ma and Joe Tsai for years, but I am not going to introduce you, even if you ask nice!)
In China, of course, the news is of Alibaba’s abandonment of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, a move that came after it declined to accept the company’s partnership set-up that gives much of the power over Alibaba to a group of insiders. (In New York, of course, they can do as they dang well please!)
Perhaps as a way to assuage hurt feelings, Alibaba said in its statement that it might consider also listing in China later.
“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,” Alibaba said.