Alibaba Group Holding Limited is planning to launch its highly-anticipated initial public offering (IPO) in the United Unites on September 8, according to report from Wall Street Journal based on information from a person familiar with the matter.
According to the source, Alibaba could start selling its shares at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on September 18 or 19. The company will be trading under the ticker “BABA.” In Chinese, the word “ba” means eight, which is considered a lucky number in China.
Over the past few months, there had been reports that the management of Alibaba initially wanted to schedule its debut last month, but decided to wait until September and planned to set its IPO price after the Labor Day holiday.
Alibaba is expected to raise as much as $20 billion from its public offering, which is considered one of the largest in the U.S. IPO history. In May 2012, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) raised $16 billion from its debut.
The source indicated that Alibaba delayed the launching of its IPO because investors are on their summer vacations, and the company still needs to obtain the final feedback from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Alibaba has an ongoing discussion with the commission, which is expected to conclude next week. The company amended its IPO filing and added information regarding unusual corporate structure, which gives authority to a group of partners to nominate a majority of its board. Alibaba disclosed the name of its 27 partners including its founder and executive chairman Jack Ma. Alibaba updated its filing in response to the request of the commission and investors, according to the sources.
The SEC needs to approve the Chinese e-commerce giant’s documents related to its IPO before it can set the price and launch date of its public offering. Alibaba is expected to conduct a two-week roadshow to pitch its IPO to individual and groups of big investors in Asia, Europe and United States. The company will start its roadshow in Hong Kong, according to people with knowledge about the situation.
The largest shareholder of Alibaba is Softbank Corp (TYO:9984), the Japanese telecommunications conglomerate controlled by billionaire Masayoshi Son, and the parent company of Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S). Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) owns 23% stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant. Yahoo previously stated that it would return at least 50% of the cash it would generate from Alibaba’s IPO.