China’s Alibaba plans US IPO

Chinese internet firm Alibaba has filed plans to sell shares in the US

Chinese internet firm Alibaba has filed plans to sell shares in the US in what is expected to be the biggest initial public offering (IPO) by a technology firm to date.

The IPO is expected to raise between $1bn and $15bn and give the company greater access to the US market as it seeks to grow its business outside China.

Analysts have estimated the entire company, founded in 1999, could be worth as much as $200bn, which is more than Amazon, eBay or Facebook, reported the Guardian.

Alibaba, the biggest online retailer in China, has not yet revealed how many shares it intends to sell, their price range and whether it plans to list on the tech-heavy Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange.

The IPO filing gave investors the first glimpse at the firm’s finances, stating that it generated revenues of $6.5bn in the nine months to the end of December 2013 with a net profit of $2.9bn, reported the BBC.

The documents also reveal that the value of all goods sold on Alibaba's three virtual marketplaces for 2013 was $248bn.

Analysts predict keen interest in the share sale from investors, expecting the firm to replicate its success in China on a wider scale to become a global e-commerce powerhouse.

US internet firm Yahoo, which still owns a 24% stake in Alibaba, is set to be among the major shareholders to benefit from the IPO.

Under an agreement between the two firms, Yahoo has to either sell a part of its stake back to Alibaba ahead of the IPO or include its shares in those being sold to investors.

The filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission is the first step towards an IPO, which is unlikely to take place for several months.

Some analysts believe the IPO is likely to be bigger than Facebook, the current record holder for tech IPOs, putting the Chinese company in the top ranks of US-listed tech firms.

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