The online emporium filed a stock listing application with the exchange this week without the need for financial disclosures. It is said to have picked China International Capital Corp. and Credit Suisse Group as lead banks. The offering from China’s largest corporation could raise as much as $20 billion, though Alibaba hasn’t finalised its fundraising target, the people said. Alibaba has ridden a surge in Chinese online commerce alongside an increasingly affluent middle class. But it’s struggling to sustain growth as the world’s No. 2 economy slows, and China clashes with the US over trade.
If Alibaba raises $20 billion, it will be one of Hong Kong’s largest ever share sales. A successful deal will rival AIA Group’s 2010 IPO as Hong Kong’s largest-ever share sale, a triumph for a city that’s ceded many of China’s largest corporations to US exchanges. Alibaba raised $25 billion in New York in the world’s largest IPO after struggling to persuade Hong Kong regulators to approve its unique structure.
The HK offering, the company will seek to preserve its existing governance system, where a partnership of top executives has rights including the ability to nominate a majority of board members, a person has said. Under new rules for secondary listings introduced by the HK bourse last year, the company can apply for an exemption to standard restrictions in the city that would bar that kind of setup.
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