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Alibaba files confidentially for Hong Kong quotation
Posted on Thursday, 13 June 2019 10:10
Alibaba Group Holdings is said to have taken the first step on the road to a secondary listing by filing paperwork confidentially with the Hong Kong bourse. The Cayman Islands-incorporated, China-based behemoth is believed to have hired China International Capital and Credit Suisse to lead its share sale but has not yet decided exactly how much to raise. Bloomberg was the first to report news of the confidential filing, while Reuters’ sources indicated admission to the board could happen as early as the third quarter of this calendar year. The secondary listing is expected to boost Hong Kong’s status as a major destination for Chinese technology debuts, despite some disappointing floats in the last 12 months, including a weighted-voting rights structure one by Xiaomi in July. Bloomberg indicated the fundraiser should financially support Alibaba in its ongoing rivalry with Tencent Holdings, not to mention its food delivery and travel subsidies war with Meituan Dianping. Separately, Reuters said the follow-on share sale, which will open up the world’s largest retail commerce business by gross merchandise value, as at 31st March 2019, to mainland Chinese investors, would help fund technology investments. The online giant will want to keep its existing governance in place, meaning the top executives will retain rights that include nominating a majority of the board of directors, a source told the news provider. New rules introduced last year by Hong Kong for follow-on offerings mean Alibaba could apply for an exemption to standard restriction barring this kind of structure. Reports of the filing come just a week after Alibaba said in its annual report for the year to 31st March 2019 it “may conduct a public offering and/or a listing” of shares on a stock exchange in China in the future. The world’s largest retail commerce business by gross merchandise value, as at 31st March 2019, and the country’s biggest integrated international online wholesale marketplace in 2018, did not provide further information at the time. © Zephus Ltd