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Exclusive: Alibaba to resume Hong Kong listing plans as soon as November - sources

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Exclusive: Alibaba to resume Hong Kong listing plans as soon as November - sources
FILE PHOTO: A logo of Alibaba Group is seen at the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, October 20, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song   -   Copyright  ALY SONG(Reuters)
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By Julie Zhu and Joshua Franklin

HONGKONG/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <BABA.N> is eyeing a listing in Hong Kong as early as November to raise up to $15 billion (£11.64 billion), after political unrest in the Asian financial hub put the move on ice earlier this year, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company, plans to seek listing approval from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd <0388.HK> shortly after its online retail frenzy Singles Day on Nov. 11, and may list its shares towards the end of November or in early December, the sources said.

The company expects to be in a position to forgo so-called pre-marketing meetings where it meets with institutional investors before a deal launch given its size and that many investors are already familiar with the company, the sources added. It is hoping to raise between $10 billion and $15 billion through the listing, Reuters has reported.

The sources cautioned that the plans are still subject to market conditions and requested anonymity as the matter is private.

Alibaba, which is already listed in New York, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Alibaba had been preparing to launch the listing in late August but this was delayed due to the lack of financial and political stability in Hong Kong after months of frequently violent anti-government demonstrations.

Alibaba holds the record for the world’s largest initial public offering with its $25 billion float in New York in 2014.

At that time, the company had initially hoped to float in Hong Kong but the tech firm’s management structure clashed with the city’s listing rules. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing changed its listing rules last year, primarily with the aim of attracting Chinese tech groups.

Since going public in New York, the price of its shares have more than doubled, giving it a market capitalization of around $460 billion.

Hong Kong topped the global charts in 2018 for funds raised through IPOs. But roiled by a five-month long political crisis, it is currently lagging both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq with $18.5 billion raised as of mid-October, compared with $21.9 billion on the NYSE and $23.3 billion on Nasdaq, Refinitiv data showed.

Nevertheless, IPO activity in the city has picked up, marked by AB InBev’s Budweiser Brewing Company APAC Ltd <1876.HK>, which raised about $5 billion in Hong Kong’s biggest and the world’s second-largest IPO so far this year.

In August, Alibaba reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit, aided by growth in its e-commerce and cloud computing businesses.

(Reporting by Julie Zhu in Hing Kong and Joshua Franklin in New York; Additional reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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