Alibaba to IPO in New York

Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group Holding, Ltd will launch its highly-anticipated initial public offering (IPO) in New York.

The decision in New York's favor ends months of speculation that began in mid-2013. Alibaba was first reported to have wanted to go public in Hong Kong but disagreements with the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEx), the stock exchange, finally put paid to this option. 

Alibaba said a US IPO would make it "a more global company and enhance the company's transparency." The statement did not identify which stock exchange Alibaba would choose for its listing. The choice, however, will be a toss-up between the tech heavy Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange.

Alibaba controls about 80 percent of China's internet shopping market. It is expected to raise over $15 billion from the planned IPO, raising its value to $130 billion. If attained, the IPO valuation would be second to that of Facebook's, which earned $16 billion in 2012.

Talks between Alibaba and HKEx went nowhere last year after both sides disagreed on Alibaba's demand that Hong Kong allow its partners, namely founders and senior employees, to keep control over the membership of Alibaba's board.

Observers said the choice of New York should make it easier for Alibaba's founder, Jack Ma, and his management team to retain their control over the company by using the dual share structure employed by tech companies such as Google and Facebook.

Alibaba provides marketplace platforms that allow merchants to sell goods directly to consumers. It provides listing and advertising services instead of selling goods to consumers as does US e-commerce giant Amazon.

The loss of the IPO is a heavy blow to Hong Kong, which saw the IPO as a chance to regain its former status as the world's IPO capital. 

(Photo: Wikipedia)Alibaba's headquarters in China.
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