Alibaba to list on NYSE

ALIBABA Group Holding Ltd plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), cementing the 222-year-old market’s newfound strength in technology companies.

The decision is a blow to the Nasdaq Stock Market, which was competing to become the venue for what could be the largest-ever initial public offering (IPO) in the United States.

Alibaba named the exchange in a filing yesterday, saying it plans to use the ticker “BABA”.

For Alibaba, picking Intercontinental Exchange Inc’s NYSE would also make it a standout on the Big Board as the third-largest technology company listed there.

With an estimated value of about US$168 billion (RM539.28 billion), according to a survey of analysts in April, Alibaba would rank behind only International Business Machines Corp (IBM) and Oracle Corp among technology companies listed on the NYSE, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“The momentum shifts back and forth between the two exchanges as far as IPO wins, and now it’s shifted back to the NYSE,” said Richard Repetto, an analyst at Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP, here.

The ticker BABA — in addition to reflecting the company’s name — repeats the Chinese word for the number eight, “ba”. Chinese consider the number to be lucky because “ba” sounds like the word for prosperity, “fa”.

Alibaba’s management sees the reference to “eight” as auspicious, and would also prefer having the company’s shares begin trading on August 8, after the IPO is priced the night before, said people with knowledge of the matter.

A weak market or other factors that come up during the IPO preparations could slow the deal and push it back until September, the people said.

Hangzhou, China-based Alibaba, which filed for the IPO in May, is looking to sell about a 12 per cent stake, people familiar with the matter have said. That could have it raising as much as US$20 billion.

“We are pleased to welcome Alibaba Group to NYSE where they will join our network of the world’s best companies and leading brands,” NYSE’s Eric Ryan said after Alibaba’s choice was made public. Bloomberg