Chinese online retail giant Alibaba is supposedly considering a $20 billion Hong Kong listing in what would be an unexpected move for the vast $400 billion business.
The transaction would be the biggest follow-up share sale over the last seven years globally and would present the business with an expected “war chest” to continue purchasing technology.
The final scope of Alibaba’s listing has yet to be confirmed, with some sources claiming it will net the company in between $10 billion and $15 billion, instead of $20 billion.
Listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange would make sense, given that financiers there know the company much better than in other countries, the person said.
The Chinese tech partnership holds the record for the world’s largest IPO, raising $25 billion when it noted on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014.
The business is already dealing with financial advisers on the offering and is aiming to apply confidentially in Hong Kong as early as the second half of 2019. Some people believe the relocation is in reaction to the current trade war.
Still, the company’s capital raise plans raised more questions than offered responses. Some were outright doubtful. Stanphyl Capital’s Mark Spiegel Tweeted on Sunday, “Why would a company allegedly making around $12 billion per year want to dilute itself by selling more stock? (Just asking).”
Short seller Jim Chanos, who has been a major critic of Alibaba for many years, said on Twitter “I’ve been reliably lectured by BABA bulls about how profitable and cash flow positive this company is. Nice timing, too, as BABA insiders continue to sell.”
However, the concept of planning a dual listing as an outcome of the trade war isn’t absolutely out of nowhere. Recently, Chinese chip maker SMIC affirmed it was delisting its New York Stock Exchange shares in favor of a Hong Kong listing, in what many stated was an action to the trade war.
Hao Hong, head of research study at broker BOCOM International explained, “For Chinese companies listed in the United States, one has to prepare a contingency plan. Given most of the Alibaba investors are in Asia, it makes sense to come closer to your home base and give investors an option to trade in the same time zone.”
The listing overseas will give mainland investors direct access to the business through the stock link trading link between Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen. It would likewise allegedly be offering the $400 billion company an “additional pocket of liquidity”, though we are uncertain how profound of a distinction $20 billion might produce the supposedly cash-flush business.
Steven Leung, a director at UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong noted, “With such a big market cap, it will enhance the daily trading volume [and] attract more funds into the market – that’s exciting many investors.”
One expert in Hong Kong stated the business doesn’t require the money, but that the listing can assist enhance the business’s access to loans from Asian banks. “It means closer access to Chinese investors, and maybe Chinese investors are more bullish than the global investors in Alibaba,” the analyst included.
Alibaba has also ended up being a significant investor in businesses around the globe. It has poured cash into companies like Chinese ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing and Indian payments platform Paytm.
Earlier this month, the company reported earnings for its fourth quarter and that topped projections. However, worries about China’s economic growth and trade tensions with the United States have made Alibaba investors skittish. Shares in the company are up 13% for the year, but down more than 25% from a high last June.