Sun, Aug 31, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Alibaba to delay investor meeting start, source says

QUESTIONS:The source said the holdup is so the firm can address the concerns of the SEC, and might delay what could be the US’ biggest IPO


Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) is pushing back the start of investor meetings for its initial public offering (IPO) by about a week to answer questions posed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The Chinese e-commerce giant, which was previously mulling a plan to begin marketing its IPO early next week, now sees the investor meetings beginning the week of Sept. 8, with tentative pricing on Sept. 18 and trading to start the following day, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

Alibaba, based in Hangzhou, China, has been in discussions with the commission as it seeks regulatory approval of its prospectus. The company has held off rushing the deal, after originally targeting a trading debut earlier this month, a person familiar with the matter said last month.

The investor meetings — called a roadshow — would give Alibaba, founded by billionaire Jack Ma (馬雲), the opportunity to answer questions from the world’s biggest fund managers and build demand for its shares. With Alibaba and selling shareholders expected to raise as much as US$20 billion, the IPO has the potential to be the largest offering in US history.

At US$20 billion, Alibaba’s sale would edge past Visa Inc.’s US$19.65 billion IPO in 2008 as the largest in US history, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The company, which plans to sell shares on the New York Stock Exchange, may set its IPO value at US$154 billion, or 22 percent below analyst valuations, in a move that could avoid repeating Facebook Inc.’s listing flop, according to the average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg last month. The same analysts give Alibaba an average post-listing valuation of US$198 billion, the survey shows.

The founder and chairman Ma, whose assets include a 7.3 percent economic interest in Alibaba, has emerged as China’s richest person, with a net worth of US$21.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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