New York set to win huge Alibaba IPO: reports

NEW YORK (AFP) - The huge stock offering planned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is being prepared for New York, media reports said Friday.

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, said Alibaba had decided on New York after ruling out Hong Kong and London for the initial public offering.

The reports did not indicate whether the IPO would be on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange.

Alibaba was not immediately available for comment.

The company's stock market listing was expected to raise about US$10 billion (S$12.6 billion), which would make it the technology industry's largest IPO since Facebook's in 2012.

The Journal said that an IPO filing could come as soon as April, which could allow trading to begin by the third quarter.

The report said up to five banks may be given lead underwriting roles.

Last year, talks between the world's largest online retailer and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange broke down in part because the city's listing rules prevented Alibaba's founder Jack Ma and senior management retaining some control over the board of directors.

Alibaba was hoping the exchange would adopt an alternative class share structure to give select minority shareholders extra control over the board, but the city's bourse refused to shift from its current mechanism of one share, one vote.

Alibaba operates China's most popular e-shopping platform, Taobao, which has more than 90 per cent of the online market for consumer-to-consumer transactions.

Taobao has more than 800 million product listings and over 500 million users.

Some reports say Alibaba is also preparing a US e-commerce site.