Alibaba eyeing HK listing in late Nov, say sources

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The US-listed Chinese e-commerce giant is due to seek approval from Hong Kong's listing committee on Thursday, the people said, for a deal that Dealogic data showed will be the world's biggest-ever cross-border secondary listing.

If realised, the $15 billion IPO would be the major due to the fact coverage huge AIA garnered $20.5 billion in 2010.

The listing would be a big deal for the Hong Kong stock exchange, which could use the boost of a high profile listing.

Alibaba's decision to list in Hong Kong will provide greater access to China's burgeoning investor community, who will not have to deal with transferring capital to the United States, and the cumbersome time difference.

An Alibaba spokesman declined to comment on the timing of the share offering. Alibaba now holds the record for the world's biggest initial public offering for its $25bn 2014 float in NY.

More recently, office-space sharing startup WeWork was forced to drop IPO plans and seek a cash injection from Japan's SoftBank Group, a major shareholder, as its valuation collapsed to $8bn from $47bn as recently as January this year. That would be the largest IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange in nearly ten years. The Hang Seng Index is up 10% so far this year.

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Already, US lawmakers such as Senator Marco Rubio are agitating for measures to curb investment flows to Chinese companies, including the extreme option of tossing US-listed firms off American bourses. The demonstrations are in their fifth month and are frequently violent.

The will-they-or-won't-they story of Alibaba's much-touted Hong Kong IPO is heading into the home stretch, as a source close to the company told Caixin on Friday the company will go for a listing hearing with the Hong Kong stock exchange next week. However, it is lower than the US$20 billion it had aimed to raise initially.

The new timing means the company will have an opportunity to show prospective investors its most recent sales figures after Monday's Singles Day, mainland China's largest annual online shopping day.

Credit Suisse and China International Capital Corp. will be the lead underwriters on the deal.

The company reported last week that second-quarter revenue increased by 40 per cent to 119.02 billion yuan (S$23.1 billion), from 85.15 billion yuan in the same quarter previous year.

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