Ahead of Blockbuster IPO, Alibaba Raises Share-Price Range

(Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

Alibaba is seeing huge demand for its initial public offering, and has raised the price range of its shares to $66 to $68. The Chinese internet behemoth is expected to go public on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company disclosed the higher range in an amended filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

Its previous range, announced Sept. 5, was $60 to $66 a share. It expects to offer 320.1 million American depositary shares.

At $68 a share, Alibaba would raise $25.03 billion at a valuation of $170 billion, which would make it the biggest IPO ever. In comparison, Facebook raised $16 billion at a market value of $104 billion when it went public in 2012.

Alibaba is currently in the middle of a two-week international road show during which it has been pitching the deal to institutional investors.

According to PrivCo, at least 50 institutional investors have submitted share-allocation requests of $1 billion or more.

The final price will be nailed down the day before the company’s first day of trading, and could fall outside of the price range, depending on demand.

Although relatively unknown in the U.S., Alibaba has grown to become a major business conglomerate in China. It handles more sales than Amazon.com and EBay combined, and in its most recent quarter saw profit triple, to nearly $2 billion, from a year earlier.

It is known as an e-commerce power player, but has interests in other fields, including banking, maps, cloud computing and music.