Alibaba eyes $12.9 bn Hong Kong IPO after setting price: reports

Hong Kong (AFP) –


Chinese online retail titan Alibaba could raise almost $13 billion in Hong Kong's biggest IPO for nearly a decade after pricing its shares for the mega sale, reports said on Wednesday.

Asia's biggest company has called the listing a multi-billion-dollar vote of confidence in the city's markets as it is wracked by months of violent protests and the China-US trade war, which have sent its economy into recession.

Alibaba will sell 500 million shares to investors at HK$176, according to Bloomberg News, below the maximum HK$188 of its indicative price range. The number eight is considered auspicious in China.

That could rake in $11 billion but if it chooses to use its over-allotment option to sell a further 75 million shares, the firm could make HK$101.2 billion ($12.9 billion), the South China Morning Post said.

Even at the low end, the listing would still be Hong Kong's largest initial public offering since insurance giant AIA raised $20.5 billion in 2010.

The company had planned to list in the summer but called it off owing to the city's long-running pro-democracy protests and the China-US trade war.

The firm's shares are already traded in New York. A second listing in Hong Kong is expected to curry favour with Beijing, which has sought to encourage its current and future big tech firms to list nearer to home after the loss of companies such as Baidu to Wall Street.

Mainland authorities have also stepped up moves to attract such listings, including launching a new technology board in Shanghai in July.

The listing comes after the city's exchange tweaked the rules to allow double listings, while Chief Executive Carrie Lam had also been pushing Alibaba's billionaire founder Jack Ma to sell shares in the city.