Mar 17 - The battle is on for a piece of the Alibabba listing- it would be a big win for the NYSE or the Nasdaq, not to mention a long list of underwriters all vying to get part of the huge deal. Bobbi Rebell reports.
A big coup for the U.S. Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba will come to the U.S.- not China- to go public. Proceeds could exceed $15 billion- valuing the company in the neighborhood of $140 billion. It's a hot listing- that both the NYSE and the Nasdaq will be gunning for: Reuters John McCrank: SOUNDBITE: JOHN MCCRANK, CORRESPONDENT, THOMSON REUTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "My sources are telling me that nothing has been decided yet on the Alibaba IPO, but they are leaning a little bit towards NYSE. If they were to go with NYSE that would be a huge blow for Nasdaq because basically the reputational hit that Nasdaq took over the Facebook IPO seems to have carried over into the following year. NYSE won the Twitter IPO. It has more technology IPO's than Nasdaq for the first time ever so if Nasdaq doesn't win this it will be seen as a huge blow." But IPO Financial.com's David Menlow says the NYSE will win: SOUNDBITE: DAVID MENLOW, PRESIDENT, IPOFINANCIAL.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I just look at this as why take a chance for another Facebook situation. This is without question going to be, I don't even think an 800 pound gorilla in the room, this is the 800 ton gorilla and to come up with something that is going to be somewhere between a Twitter and a Facebook they are going to be putting a lot of shares. There is going to be unbelievable demand for these shares." How big is Alibaba- their platforms handle more goods than Ebay and Amazon.com combined. It controls 80 percent of the country's e-commerce. And there are some big stakeholders in the e-commerce giant. Japan's Softbank owns 37 percent. Yahoo is the next largest shareholder at 24 percent. Its stock rose on the news. Still no word on who the underwriters will be- but they could stand to win big. A deal would yield about $260 million in underwriting fees. Sources tell Reuters Alibaba is in discussions with six banks- including Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. SOUNDBITE: DAVID MENLOW, PRESIDENT, IPOFINANCIAL.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "This is going to be a feast and the underwriters are going to be doing extraordinarily well. But keep in mind the people who are in management this year weren't born yesterday. They know they have the clout. They know they can walk around and say, if you are not gong to take care of us the right way, there are a number of other underwriting groups that we can go to that will. So it will be a very low fee relative to some of the other IPOs but still whatever is generated will be huge." The IPO is expected in the third quarter, but we could get more official info sooner. Documents are expected as early as April.