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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Daily Report: Alibaba Is Said to Shift I.P.O. Focus to U.S.

The Chinese Internet company Alibaba has ended talks with the Hong Kong stock exchange over an initial public offering and is now moving forward with plans to list in New York, a person close to Alibaba said on Wednesday.

In its discussions over a potential listing â€" which, at as much as $15 billion, would be a huge victory for any stock exchange â€" Alibaba had proposed to officials in Hong Kong that the company’s 28-member partner committee be allowed to continue to nominate a majority of its board of directors, Neil Gough reports.

Hong Kong discourages companies from organizing in a way that favors dual-class shareholding over individual shareholdings, or gives one shareholder a disproportionate say over how a company is run.

The company has yet to appoint underwriters for an I.P.O. or submit filings to sell shares in any market. Alibaba has, however, hired an American law firm to work on its offering and it plans to “be hiring banks soon,” the person said, declining to be named because the information was not public.

Analysts and investors expect Alibaba’s listing â€" if, when and where it happens â€" to be one of the biggest and most highly anticipated since Facebook raised $16 billion in May 2012.

Alibaba was founded in 1999. Its partner committee was set up in 2010 and includes Jack Ma, the executive chairman. The partners own about 10 percent of the company, and the committee does not include SoftBank, the Japanese telecommunications company that owns 36.7 percent of Alibaba, or Yahoo, which has a 24 percent stake.

Alibaba’s online businesses include Alibaba.com, which links overseas buyers with Chinese exporters; Tmall.com, which lets retailers connect with online shoppers; and the consumer-to-consumer retail Web site Taobao Marketplace.

The company’s profit more than tripled in the first quarter of the year, rising to $668.7 million from $220.5 million in the period a year earlier, according to Yahoo’s stock exchange filings. Quarterly revenue increased 72 percent, to $1.38 billion.