FT Monday 22nd September 2014

Alibaba IPO hits record $25bn

The much anticipated IPO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has not failed to disappoint. Expectations about the size of the IPO and the market capitalisation of the company have been met and then some. It is thought that the first public offering of shares in the company has raised the group $25bn after it listed for the first time on the NYSE on Friday. Speculation around investor uptake of shares in the company had been rife all year, but it is believed that the group has surpassed the Agricultural Bank of China to become the most expensive first offering in history. Jack Ma, the former English teacher who founded Alibaba and remains its Chairman, has led the company on a marketing roadshow in recent weeks, attempting to drum up interest and excitement. While investors were expected to be wary about the unorthodox management structure that the group has put in place, the sheer magnitude of the Chinese e-commerce market and the dominant position that Alibaba already holds meant that any fears it may not perform as well as expected were quickly blown away as trading starting on Friday morning . Shares in Alibaba were initially sold to investors at a price of $68 each, although they quickly jumped all the way up to £99 during the opening hours of trading. Demand for shares in Alibaba, under the ticket BABA, was so hot, that investors struggled to find anyone willing to sell. Based on the closing Friday share price Alibaba has a market capitalisation of £230bn, giving it a valuation higher than US tech giants Facebook and Amazon.


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