Alibaba 'to seek $19b New York IPO' after HK talks break down
HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding has decided to pursue an initial public offering (IPO) in New York after talks with Hong Kong regulators broke down over a listing in the Asian financial hub, sources familiar with the discussions said on Wednesday.
The decision ends weeks of negotiations between the company, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the city's regulators over Alibaba's shareholding structure, which had delayed the launch of a sale that may be worth more than US$15 billion (S$18.8 billion).
The debate centred on the ability for Alibaba to list in Hong Kong and, at the same time, allow its "partners" - a group of founders and senior employees - to keep control over the makeup of its board. The choice of New York should make it easy for Alibaba founder Jack Ma and his management team to keep a tight grip on the company with a dual share structure common to Internet companies, including Google and Facebook.
"We've come to the end of dialogue with Hong Kong, and we're pivoting to the US to start the listing process," a company source familiar with the discussions said. Alibaba has engaged US law firms to start working on its IPO and will soon be hiring banks to manage the listing, added the company source, who was not authorised to speak publicly on the matter.