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US-China trade war forces Alibaba’s $20 bn Hong Kong secondary listing



An analyst said a part of the move is ‘politics’, and the other part is because of ‘better valuation in the Hong Kong market’

Chinese internet giant Alibaba is planning to raise nearly $20 billion through a secondary listing in Hong Kong, according to Reuters. This will be the second large deal after its record-breaking $25 billion float in New York in 2014.

Alibaba is working with financial advisors on the offering. The company is also planning to file for confidentiality in Hong Kong during the early second half of 2019, sources close to the matter said.

Bloomberg said that the move comes in an effort to battle the tensions between Beijing and Washington, along with the hostile US ban on Huawei Technologies.

“A large part of it is politics, especially because of the timing,” said David Dai, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Bernstein. “Another part of it is potentially better valuation in the Hong Kong market.”

However, a spokesperson from Alibaba declined to comment on the matter. Alibaba’s shares have dropped more than 21 percent in the last year to Friday’s close. Still, it stands as the world’s 10 largest publicly traded corporations at approximated $400 billion.

The Refinitiv data shows that Alibaba’s $20 billion deal would be the sixth-largest follow-on share sale ever. The deal ranks behind NTT’s $36.8 billion sale in 1987, crisis era offerings of $24.4 billion from the Royal Bank of Scotland and of $22.5 billion from the Lloyds Banking Group, and $20.7 billion raised by AIG in 2012.

Since the US listing, Alibaba has grown in size becoming the biggest listed Chinese company with a market capitalisation of more than $400 billion. The company’s first choice of preference for its IPO was Hong Kong. But the territory declined to list the company then due to Alibaba’s corporate structure, by which a self-selected group of senior managers control the majority of board appointments, Moneycontrol reported.


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