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Is Alibaba Finally Readying for an IPO?

Bank of America/Merrill Lynch wrote a note earlier this week that you should expect an IPO filing from Alibaba in the next one to two months. They also said that this could lead to a price improvement in Yahoo, which holds a 24% stake in Alibaba, to $45 a share once investors saw the full details of Alibaba's financials in its filing.

This week, we also saw Alibaba's vice chairman, Joe Tsai, speaking at Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley conferences. That likely means each of those firms is going to get tapped to underwrite the IPO -- even though it sheds no light on whether they will list in New York or Hong Kong.

Why would Tsai take the time to appear if he wasn't interested in getting out Alibaba's story to institutional investors as a lead-up to an IPO?

Alibaba knows that Yahoo's quarterly release in April will include Alibaba's Q4 financials. This is typically Alibaba's biggest quarter of the year. It would make sense for them to release their IPO filing beforehand and then get on the path to an IPO by May.

I suspect that Tsai's appearance at these banking events this week is a precursor to an imminent IPO filing.

Then prepare to watch the Tencent vs. Alibaba war go to a whole new level.

At the time of publication, the author was long YHOO and SINA but held no positions in any of the other stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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