Alibaba has won approval from the Hong Kong stock exchange for a secondary listing in the city to raise as much as $15bn, according to two people familiar with the matter, in what is set to be one of the world’s biggest fundraisings this year.
The Chinese ecommerce company will start a week-long investor roadshow on Wednesday ahead of bookbuilding, after it secured approval for the mammoth fundraising from the Hong Kong stock exchange’s listing committee, said one of the people.
Pricing is expected to be confirmed on November 20 with the shares to start trading on the Hong Kong exchange in the week of November 25, the person said.
The timeline was also reported by the SCMP, the Hong Kong English-language newspaper owned by Alibaba.
Alibaba and the Hong Kong stock exchange both declined to comment.
The Chinese group, which listed on the New York Stock Exchange five years ago, had sought to take advantage of positive momentum following its annual Singles’ Day event on Monday. The annual retail extravaganza, the world’s biggest, saw shoppers spend a record $38bn on goods through Alibaba’s online platforms.
Alibaba originally filed for a Hong Kong listing in June and had hoped to raise up to $20bn before plans stalled amid deepening political unrest in the Chinese territory. The company is now aiming to raise between $10bn and $15bn, though people with knowledge of the matter have said that the size of the deal will probably be closer to the lower end of that range.
The share listing would also be a big win for the Hong Kong bourse, which has seen fundraising activity rebound since September following a quiet summer. A series of $1bn-plus listings in the past few months have taken funds raised from listings this year to $21bn, according to Dealogic data — although that still trails the $32bn raised in Hong Kong in 2018.
However, the Alibaba share sale comes as months of political unrest have hit equity market sentiment in the Asia finance hub, with violence increasing sharply in recent days.
Protests have crippled Hong Kong’s transport network this week, after a police officer shot an unarmed demonstrator and a man was set on fire by protesters after a confrontation. The benchmark Hang Seng index is down more than 4 per cent since Monday.
“With the political situation in the city increasingly taking a turn for the worse, Alibaba’s secondary listing could be facing significant headwinds,” said a Hong Kong-based former head of Asian equity capital markets. “Even though this will be a big, eye-catching offer by one of China’s best-known companies, it is possible that the transaction size may have to be revised, in light of the ongoing unrest and deteriorating situation.”
The Alibaba listing would be one of the world’s biggest fundraisings this year, outstripping the $8bn initial public offering of ride-hailing company Uber in New York in May. It would also easily top the $5bn IPO of brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Asia-Pacific unit in Hong Kong in September.
Alibaba’s 2014 New York listing was the biggest IPO ever. Its secondary listing comes as Saudi Aramco prepares to list in Riyadh, aiming to surpass the $25bn raised by the Chinese company.
The lead sponsors are Credit Suisse and state-owned investment bank CICC, people familiar with the matter have said. Citigroup is also involved, they added, while Bloomberg has said Alibaba has also appointed Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan.
JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Citi declined to comment. The other two banks did not respond to requests for comment.