Reuters – Alibaba Holdings Inc gave investors a closer look at the scale and growth of the Chinese e-commerce juggernaut in an IPO prospectus filed May 6 in the first step of what could become the largest technology debut in history.
Alibaba, which powers four-fifths of all online commerce conducted in the world’s second-largest economy, is expected to raise upward of $15 billion and potentially surpass the $16 billion that Facebook Inc managed in 2012. It will become the largest Chinese corporation to have sought a home on U.S. exchanges.
The company handled more than 1.5 trillion yuan, or about $248 billion, of transactions for 231 million active users across its three main Chinese online marketplaces in 2013, more than Amazon and eBay combined.
“If it is able to transport that kind of power to outside China, it has the potential to become a true global ecommerce powerhouse,” said Roger Entner, Lead Analyst and Founder of Recon Analytics. “Everybody thought Amazon could do it but now we have to rethink Amazon in the light of being the most successful company in that field in the U.S. — but not in the world.”
Unlike many of the more prominent U.S. technology IPOs of recent years, Alibaba’s list of significant shareholders is short. By contrast, Facebook and Twitter each broke out shareholdings from more than a half dozen individual principal shareholders.
Former English schoolteacher and co-founder Jack Ma now owns 8.9 percent of Alibaba. Yahoo Inc and Softbank own 22.6 percent and 34.4 percent of the company, which said on May 6 it is still deciding between the New York stock exchange and the Nasdaq as a listing venue.
Yahoo must sell roughly 40 percent of its Alibaba stake in the IPO or sell the shares back to Alibaba directly prior to the IPO.
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