Alibaba expects IPO to raise $24.3bn with largest listing in history

 
Joe Hall
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The Alibaba float is expected to be the biggest technology listing in history (Source: Getty)

Alibaba expects to raise $24.3bn when it lists on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) later this month.

If it raises that sum, the Chinese e-commerce giant's initial public offering (IPO) will be the largest in history, giving it a valuation of around $163bn.

In a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Alibaba said it plans to sell 123.1m of its 320.1m shares, priced at between $60 and $66 each.

Selling shareholders, including Yahoo, are offering the rest. Yahoo could earn up to $8bn from selling down 121.7m of its shares.

If Alibaba does reach its $24.3bn target, it would beat the previous record set for an IPO by Agricultural Bank of China's 2010 listing on the Shanghai market which raised $22.1bn and a valuation of $128bn.

At the moment, the accolade of "largest tech IPO in history" belongs to Facebook, which raised $16bn from its listing on the NYSE in 2012, while Google raised $1.6bn in 2004.

Alibaba, which has been described as "a mix between Amazon and eBay", owns a multitude of Chinese websites including Alibaba.com; a business-to-business trading platform, Taobao; a consumer-to-consumer shopping site and Tmall; a retail site.

The firm says its websites currently have 279 million buyers making 14.5 billion orders per year. It has made particular breakthroughs in the smartphone marketplace, with its websites accounting for 86.1 per cent of total mobile retail in China.

In the filing, Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma encouraged investors to embrace his long-term vision of a "business ecosystem that is healthy", and insisted the company would always place customers before investors.

Ma said:

I have said on numerous occasions that we will put “customers first, employees second, and shareholders third"...We believe that the only way for Alibaba to create long-term value for shareholders is to create sustainable value for customers. So customers must come first.
In the future, we will be judged by how much progress we bring to the world...This challenge requires us to do our best day-to-day, but most importantly it requires us to think about what is best over the long-term.
Our company will not make decisions based on short-term revenues or profits. Our strategies will be implemented with mission-driven, long-term development in mind...We welcome investors with the same long-term mindset

Alibaba could embark on its investor roadshow next week, with trading potentially beginning on 19 September.

The Hangzhou-based firm reported a 46 per cent rise in revenues to 15.77bn yuan and profits of 12.34bn yuan in its most recent quarterly earnings report.

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