Alibaba's IPO Set to Be Biggest Internet Stock Launch Since Facebook

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce site, has announced the long-waited location of its IPO holding in what is set to be the largest Internet deal since Google. 

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Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce site partially owned by Yahoo, has announced the long-waited location of its IPO, in what could be the largest Internet stock release since Google's. The Hangzhou, China-based company has chosen to list its IPO with the New York Stock Exchange and is currently speaking with six banks to underwrite the deal, Elzio Barreto and Denny Thomas report at Reuters.

Those banks include Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and Morgan Stanley, Reuters reports. The New York-based stock markets are heating, with 42 IPOs listed on the NYSE or on NASDAQ this year, reports IPOX Schuster. That’s triple the number on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and more than four times that listed on the London Stock Exchange, the website says.

Alibaba has been valued at more than $140 billion, and proceeds from the IPO could reach more than $15 billion. Filing of documents is expected as early as April, reports Reuters.

The decision to choose New York to launch its IPO is crucially important, as it underscores “the U.S.’s standing as the global hub of the new stock boom,” reports Matt Krantz at USA Today. Alibaba’s plans to publicly trade follows another high-profile IPO listed on the NYSE, that of King Digital Entertainment Plc, the Irish company and creator of Candy Crush. King Digital is valued at $7.6 billion.

The Alibaba IPO is the latest in a string of high-profile, multi-billion-dollar tech deals that are putting U.S. markets firmly ahead of their competitors, and leaving European and Asian markets behind. “It's a blow to skeptics who thought domestic markets were not competitive with London and Hong Kong,” writes Matt Krantz at USA Today. Twitter is just one example of a high-profile tech listing on the NYSE.

Alibaba was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma, a former English teacher, and 17 other people. It now employs more than 20,000 people, handles more goods than eBay and Amazon combined, according to Reuters, and controls around 80 percent of China’s e-commerce. The IPO could benefit other companies as well, some of whom would considered dinosaurs in the tech world by today’s standards.

Yahoo Inc. owns a 24 stake in the company; as Bloomberg reports, it might be time for them to cash in. Yahoo could gain more than $37 billion from the stock sale. Japan’s Softbank Corp controls 37 percent, and 13 percent is controlled by Alibaba’s founders and some senior managers.

In 2012, Yahoo sold shares in the company back to Alibaba, making $4.6 billion along the way, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

Alibaba rebuffed the chance to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, who they have been in talks with since last year. The city’s regulators blocked Alibaba’s proposals because it was in violation of the “one-share-one-vote principle.” But while talks resumed last year, Alibaba eventually decided to list in the U.S.

"We wish to thank those in Hong Kong who have supported Alibaba Group," Alibaba said in its statement.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.