Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has announced plans for a stock market listing in the US, in what is set to be the largest initial public offering for a tech stock since Facebook.
Yahoo! currently owns around 24% of Alibaba in a stake it purchased in 2005, while Japanese tech giant Softbank owns a further 37%. Meanwhile, the company’s investors and founders own a further 13%.
In a statement, Alibaba says a US listing will help it to become a more global company.
“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.
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“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.”
Reuters reports the company, which controls around 80%-90% of the Chinese consumer-to-consumer e-commerce market, had been in negotiations with the Hong Kong stock exchange.
However, talks reportedly broke down after it became apparent the Hong Kong exchange would not bend strict rules mandating all stocks carry “one vote, one value”, with the company reportedly keen to issue preferential shares.
Analysts estimate the company has a market value of at least $US140 billion, with an IPO potentially raising $US15 billion.
Alibaba is reportedly in discussions with a number of leading investment banks, including Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs Group, J.P. Morgan, and Morgan Stanley.