July will be a busy month for what is shaping up to be tech’s most significant IPO: The public offering of Chinese Internet giant Alibaba Group.
While most vacation during this time of summer, the company will take a series of steps just after the July 4th holiday to set it up for what pretty much every source blabbing away said would likely be an IPO of the e-commerce giant in the first two weeks of August.
That’s, of course, if all goes well with the two-stepping that is the process for any such offering, even though this is shaping up to be the biggest valuation and capital raised. In a report this week, Morningstar is now predicting that Alibaba will be worth $220 billion and could raise up to $26 billion.
Yes, $220 billion and $26 billion.
Everyone agrees that the IPO will be an important moment for the tech market and its performance will be widely watched and have impact on the entire sector. Also critical is what Alibaba will do once it has gone public — especially what its aims will be in expanding in the U.S. market.
But getting there still requires some important moves. After filing in May, the company has released additional financial and other information — kudos on all the women on its powerful operating committee — and there will be more of that before the IPO.
Sources noted that Alibaba had already traded comments with the Securities and Exchange Commission about a variety of questions it has — also typical — and there will be more to come in that arena. While there do not appear to be any red flags — no, I am not making a sly China inside joke here — that does not mean there will not be some issues. That’s especially true given the size of the IPO.
Alibaba also continues to weigh which market it will debut on: NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange. Sources said the company is still actively talking to both, but that a determination will come within the next two weeks.
Once that’s done, it will be time for the road show toward the end of July. It’s clear that the IPO will be oversubscribed, especially since it looks like there will be a limit in the number of shares available, largely from the forced sale by Yahoo of its Alibaba stake, about half its more than 22 percent asset.
Despite the windfall in cash the Silicon Valley Internet giant will get, sources said that Yahoo has been begging Alibaba for permission to sell less — which is within the Chinese company’s discretion.
It already let Yahoo do this once, so with everyone else clamoring for a piece of the action now, it looks like no dice. But CEO Marissa Mayer can hope on one account — it is a better and more stable investor than some tetchy hedge fund or irritating institutional investor that might be Alibaba’s new investors.
In other words, the devil you know.