By Xavier Brenner This week Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., a giant Chinese e-commerce player, will launch an investor road show ahead of a much-anticipated initial public offering (IPO). It will value the company at about $155 billion and as high as $162.7 billion, according to a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Alibaba is expected to list on the New York Stock Exchange in mid-September under the ticker BABA, in what will be one of the biggest stock debuts ever in the U.S. Here's what you need to know about the Alibaba IPO:
1) What Alibaba actually does
Alibaba was founded by Jack Ma, a former English teacher from the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. The company is kind of a Chinese mashup of eBay (EBAY) and Amazon (AMZN), offering everything from business-to-business web portals, online retail, shopping search engines, and cloud computing. Ma is worth $21.8 billion and is China's richest person. Search giant Yahoo ( YHOO) owns a stake in Alibaba.
2) How much it aims to raise
If Alibaba ends up moving the maximum number of shares proposed at the highest price currently anticipated, this IPO could be one for the record books. The company may end raising $24.3 billion, representing the biggest-ever IPO and eclipsing the $22 billion raised by Agricultural Bank of China (ACGBY) back in 2010.
3) How the valuation stacks up
Believe it or not, Alibaba would be valued pretty close to Amazon and more than twice eBay (EBAY). The Chinese e-commerce company, though, would be well below its global rival Google (GOOG) and social network giant Facebook (FB).
4) An IPO valuation equal to Amazon’s
Don't forget that Alibaba is the dominant player in the world's biggest Internet market, home to 560 million internet users - twice as many as the U.S.