Alibaba May IPO

    July 30, 2007

The Alibaba Group, which took over Yahoo China in 2005, is now preparing to hold an IPO on the Hong Kong stock market.  Other details, such as “when” and “how much,” remain largely unknown.

In fact, all an Alibaba spokeswoman would tell Reuters was, “We have started preparations for an IPO,” and to be fair, Alibaba may be as clueless on some of these issues as we are – its IPO application is in the hands of a listing committee.

But BusinessWeek’s Joe McDonald reports, “Hong Kong newspapers, citing unidentified sources, said the IPO could raise as much as $1 billion to pay for Alibaba to expand abroad.”  Also, “The Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao said shares could begin trading in September.”

That second statement sounds optimistic – financial matters never seem to move that quickly.’s Robert Andrews notes, however, “It was first rumored last month that Alibaba would seek to float in the Far East, rather than ape its siblings Sina, Sohu and Baidu in listing on the Nasdaq, with the reluctance to float in the U.S. said to be down to tighter American financial laws and higher costs.”

We’ll keep you up to date on this story as it develops.  Bearing in mind that Yahoo owns 40 percent of Alibaba, and Alibaba runs Yahoo China, there are several angles to consider.