Alibaba Chooses NYSE For IPO

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. on Friday chose the New York Stock Exchange for its potentially record-setting initial public offering, dealing a blow to the technology-heavy Nasdaq.

Alibaba said it would list under the ticker BABA, a reflection on both the company's name and the Chinese word for "eight," which is seen as a lucky number.

The company is expected to list just 12% of itself and may arrive with a valuation nearing $200 billion. That would make the sale bigger than Facebook (FB) $16 billion IPO in May 2012 and give Alibaba a market valuation above Facebook's $172 billion, Oracle's  (ORCL) $178.8 billion, and IBM's  (IBM) $182.6 billion.

The sale could lead to a windfall for Sunnyvale, Calif.'s Yahoo! (YHOO), owner of 24% of Alibaba.

The decision continues a run of technology successes for the NYSE after Nasdaq, once synonymous with tech IPOs, received a black eye during troubles with the high-profile Facebook IPO. Last year, the NYSE hosted Twitter's debut as well as those of stock photo supplier Shutterstock and real estate site Trulia.

Hangzhou, China-based Alibaba filed for its IPO in May and has spent much of 2014 paying nearly $6 billion to keep its pole position as China's biggest online retail site and to expand into new areas. This month, it agreed to buy one-third of mobile browser maker UCWeb Inc. and 50% of the Guangzhou Evergrande soccer team from Hong Kong-listed Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd.

In April, Alibaba and the investment vehicle of its billionaire founder Jack Ma agreed to pump $1.22 billion into Chinese Internet TV company Youku Tudou Inc. Alibaba also announced a $1.85 billion agreement to take Nasdaq-listed digital map maker AutoNavi Holdings Ltd. private and an $803 million deal to move its minor stake in content provider ChinaVision Media Group Ltd. to a majority.

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