Alibaba confirms preparation for US listing

Alibaba confirms preparation for US listing

HONG KONG - Agence France-Presse
Alibaba confirms preparation for US listing

Young men walk past the corporate logo at the headquarters compound of Alibaba Group in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province in this May 21, 2012 file photo. AP Photo

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba confirmed Sunday it plans to list in the United States after ruling out Hong Kong and London.        

"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," the company said in a  statement, confirming recent media reports.        

Analysts say the listing is expected to raise about $10 billion, which would make it the technology industry's largest IPO since Facebook's in 2012.
Talks between the world's largest online retailer and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange broke down last year, in part because the city's listing rules prevented Alibaba founder Jack Ma and senior management retaining some control over the board of directors.
Alibaba wanted an alternative class share structure to give selected minority shareholders extra control over the board, but the Hong Kong bourse declined to change its rules.
"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," the statement said.        

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."       

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Alibaba could launch its IPO as soon as April, which could allow trading to begin by the third quarter.
The report said up to five banks may be given lead underwriting roles.
Alibaba operates China's most popular e-shopping platform, Taobao, which has more than 90 percent of the online market for consumer-to-consumer transactions.        

Taobao has more than 800 million product listings and over 500 million users.