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article imageAlibaba files for IPO; could be largest tech debut ever

By Nathan Salant     May 7, 2014 in Technology
Washington - Chinese tech giant Alibaba Holdings Inc. moved closer to becoming a public company in the United States on Tuesday when it filed its IPO prospectus with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Alibaba is expected to raise more than $15 billion when its shares go on sale in the next few months, and could dwarf US internet darling Facebook's record-setting $16 billion launch in 2012.
Alibaba handles 80 percent of all online commerce in China -- nearly $250 billion worth, according to the Reuters news service.
"If it is able to transport that kind of power to outside China, it has the potential to become a true global ecommerce powerhouse," telecom expert Roger Entner, founder of Recon Analytics, told Reuters.
"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 US, but not in the world," he said.
Alibaba has 231 million users in China, more than Amazon and eBay combined, Reuters said.
The company said it still was considering whether to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq Stock Market, Reuters said.
Two US companies with prominent positions in Alibaba stock are expected to get huge boosts from the IPO, when it happens.
Yahoo Inc. and Softbank Corp. of Japan together own 57 percent of Alibaba, but have to sell large amounts of their holdings when the Chinese company goes public, Reuters said.
But while the impending IPO is the source of considerable excitement in Silicon Valley and Wall Street, there are many factors that seem to suggest caution.
Stock values of high-flying Internet stocks like Twitter and Amazon have been tumbling lately, suggesting that investors are again beginning to sour on such companies, Reuters said.
Listed underwriters of the Alibaba IPO include Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, Reuters said.
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