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Alibaba, which was weighing a plan to begin marketing its IPO early next week, now sees the the investor meetings beginning the week of 8 September, with tentative pricing on 18 September and trading to debut the following day. Photo: Bloomberg
Alibaba, which was weighing a plan to begin marketing its IPO early next week, now sees the the investor meetings beginning the week of 8 September, with tentative pricing on 18 September and trading to debut the following day. Photo: Bloomberg

Alibaba said to push back start of IPO investor meetings

The company may raise as much as $20 billion in its US offering, potentially the largest in the US

New York: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is pushing back the start date for investor meetings for its initial public offering by about a week to answer questions posed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The Chinese e-commerce giant, which was previously weighing a plan to begin marketing its IPO early next week, now sees the investor meetings beginning the week of 8 September, with tentative pricing on 18 September and trading to start the following day, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

Alibaba, based in Hangzhou, China, has been in discussions with the SEC as it seeks regulatory approval of its prospectus. The company has held off rushing the deal, after originally targeting an early August trading debut, a person familiar with the matter said in July.

Florence Shih, a spokeswoman for Alibaba in Hong Kong, declined to comment.

The investor meetings — called a roadshow — will give Alibaba, founded by billionaire Jack Ma, the opportunity to answer questions from the world’s biggest fund managers and build demand for its shares. With Alibaba and selling shareholders expected to raise as much as $20 billion, the IPO has the potential to be the largest offering in US history.

Surpassing visa

At $20 billion, Alibaba’s sale would edge past Visa Inc’s $19.65 billion IPO in 2008 as the largest in US history, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The Chinese e-commerce operator, which plans to sell shares on the New York Stock Exchange, may set its IPO value at $154 billion, or 22% below analyst valuations, in a move that could avoid repeating Facebook Inc’s listing flop, according to the average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg last month. The same analysts give Alibaba an average post-listing valuation of $198 billion, the survey shows.

The 49-year-old founder and chairman Ma, whose assets include a 7.3% economic interest in Alibaba, has emerged as China’s richest person, with a net worth of $21.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. BLOOMBERG

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