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Alibaba files biggest IPO in U.S. history


New York – Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that media reports indicate could be worth as much as $24.3 billion, making it the biggest U.S. initial public offering ever.

According to Bloomberg, Alibaba is seeking a valuation as high as $162.7 million, in the upper end of the proposed price range and higher than that of any other public Internet company in the U.S. except Google and Facebook.

However, Alibaba still appears intent on valuating the company well below the consensus value of $187 billion Wall Street analysts placed on the company in July 2014. This will allow a smoother start, allow room for early growth in value and help avoid the kind of embarrassing early underperformance Facebook experienced shortly after its IPO.

Alibaba tentatively plans to launch its IPO on Friday, Sept.19, with pricing announced on Thursday, Sept. 18. The company intends to start a U.S. roadshow with analysts and potential investors in New York Sept. 8, followed by visits to cities including Boston, Baltimore, and San Francisco, and then visit investors in London and Hong Kong.

Alibaba and major shareholders, including top company executives and Yahoo, which owns 22% of the company, intend to sell 320.1 million shares, or roughly 13% of the company, for $60-$66 each in the IPO. The stock will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BABA.

Some observers believe Alibaba’s IPO could prove to be the largest in U.S. history, surpassing the $19.7 billion raised by Visa Inc. in a 2008 IPO.

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