INTERNATIONAL - Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has filed confidentially for a Hong Kong listing, people familiar with the matter said, moving closer to what is potentially the city’s biggest share sale since 2010.
The online emporium filed a stock listing application with the exchange this week without the need for financial disclosures, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. It is said to have picked China International Capital Corp. and Credit Suisse Group AG as lead banks. The offering from China’s largest corporation could raise as much as $20 billion, though Alibaba hasn’t finalized its fundraising target, the people said. An Alibaba representative declined to comment.
Alibaba -- which had roughly $30 billion of cash as of March -- 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 U.S. over trade.
The deal could help finance a costly war of subsidies with Meituan Dianping in food delivery and travel, and may also divert investor cash from rivals like Meituan and WeChat-operator Tencent Holdings Ltd. The transaction could also bolster the city’s status as a destination for Chinese tech listings and boost the online retailer’s cash pile.
News of Alibaba’s filing sent shares in affiliated firms soaring. New Huadu Supercenter Co. and Sanjiang Shopping Club Co., both backed by the e-commerce giant, rose by their 10% daily limits on mainland exchanges. China TransInfo Technology Co., in which an Alibaba affiliate will take a 15% stake, gained as much as 5.4% in Shenzhen. And CICC climbed as much as 1.8% while the Hong Kong market was down a tad.