Alibaba Seeks to Raise Up to $24.3B in IPO Record

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -

China’s Alibaba Group is seeking to raise up to $24.3 billion in its upcoming IPO, an amount that would be the most ever raised by a company heading into its stock-market debut.

The e-commerce company is hoping to sell up to 368 million shares for $60 to $66 apiece. Alibaba Group Ltd. set the price target in a regulatory filing late Friday, setting the stage for the company to make its long-awaited debut on the New York Stock Exchange later this month.

The documents didn’t spell out when trading will begin. The debut is likely to come Sept. 19 or Sept. 26, depending on whether the company has to deal with any more issues raised by securities regulators before the IPO is completed.

Alibaba management will now begin to travel around the world to meet with money managers and other investors interested in investing in the IPO.

At $66 per share, Alibaba would debut with a market value of $163 billion. That’s more than all but a handful of technology companies that have been around for much longer than Alibaba, which Jack Ma started 15 years ago in his apartment.

Alibaba plans to sell 123 million of the shares, with the rest being offered by the company’s early investors, including Yahoo Inc., which is parting with a part of its 23 percent stake.

The fundraising target easily eclipses the $16 billion that poured into Facebook’s initial public offering in 2012. That figure is the highest ever for a technology IPO.

It also would top the all-time IPO fundraising record of $22.1 billion set by the Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. in 2010, according to the research firm Dealogic.

Alibaba has been thriving because it has built an e-commerce bazaar that has become a shopping magnet for businesses and consumers alike as China’s economy steadily grows. The company’s network of sites includes Taobao, Tmall and AliExpress, as well as Alibaba.