Alibaba could raise $20bn for investment after filing for listing in Hong Kong
CHINA'S biggest e-commerce company, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has filed confidentially for a Hong Kong listing that could raise up to $20bn (€17.73bn) as early as the third quarter of this year, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.
A deal of that size would be the biggest follow-on share sale globally in seven years and give Alibaba funds for technology investment - a priority for China as economic growth slows.
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Alibaba holds the record for the world's largest initial public offering with its $25bn float in New York five years ago.
The company had initially hoped to float in Hong Kong but its management structure clashed with the city's listing rules.
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, the city's bourse operator, changed the rules last year - primarily to attract Chinese tech groups.
Alibaba declined to comment on the deal when contacted by Reuters.
Japan's SoftBank, Alibaba's largest shareholder with a 28.7pc stake, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Investment banks China International Capital and Credit Suisse, which are leading the deal, declined to comment. No other banks have been formally mandated as yet.
A listing by Alibaba in Hong Kong will be seen as a victory for the city.
Trading in Alibaba shares averaged $2.2bn a day in the first quarter of this year.
Listing in Hong Kong would also give mainland Chinese investors their first direct access to one of their country's biggest success stories, via a trading link between Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Since its US listing, Alibaba's market value has nearly doubled to $423bn.
The filing comes amid growing political unrest in Hong Kong that raised concerns over the potential impact on the city's financial market and businesses.