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Alibaba confirms plans to offer IPO in US

Offering could be one of the largest ever, reaping an expected $15 billion for a $130 billion valuation.

A Chinese Alibaba employee walks through a communal space at the company headquarters in Hangzhou.
Peter Parks/AFP/GettyImages

China e-commerce giant Alibaba Group confirmed early Sunday that it plans to become a public company in the US.

Rumored to be near for months, a US IPO would "make us a more global company and enhance the company's transparency," the company said in a brief note on its Web site. The statement did not indicate which stock exchange the company would choose for its listing.

Alibaba, which controls nearly 80 percent of China's Internet shopping market, is expected to raise more than $15 billion, giving it a $130 billion valuation. That lofty target would challenge Facebook's record Internet IPO, which raised $16 billion in 2012.

Founded in 1999 by former English teacher Jack Ma, the company provides marketplace platforms that allow merchants to sell goods directly to consumers. Rather than selling goods to consumers as US e-commerce giant Amazon does, Alibaba provides listing and advertising services.

The statement appears to snub the Hong Kong stock exchange, which had been competing for the offering with US stock exchanges but objected to some of Alibaba's proposed listing terms. The company said it was keeping its options open for a possible dual listing in China.

"We wish to thank those in Hong Kong who have supported Alibaba Group," Alibaba said in Sunday's statement. "We respect the viewpoints and policies of Hong Kong and will continue to pay close attention to and support the process of innovation and development of Hong Kong."

The IPO is also expected to a boon for Yahoo, which still owns 24 percent of the China e-commerce giant.