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Alibaba IPO planned for week of September 8, report says

The Chinese e-commerce giant is reportedly set to launch its blockbuster IPO in the US in the very same week Apple is expected to bring us the iPhone 6.

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
Michelle Meyers
2 min read

Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group. Bloomberg via Getty Images

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans to launch its US IPO early in the week of September 8, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing an unnamed source.

If that timing holds, Alibaba shares could begin trading as soon as September 18 or 19, the source told the Journal. And the timing could lead to a big week or so for technology followers. Apple is expected to launch its next iPhone at an event on September 9.

The Alibaba IPO had been delayed until after Labor Day, but this is the first we've heard of a specific time frame. An Alibaba representative declined to comment on the Journal's report.

The IPO is expected to raise up to $20 billion, making it one of the largest ever in the US. Facebook raised $16 billion in its IPO two years ago. Yahoo owns a 22.6 percent stake in Alibaba.

The company, which will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BABA, is expected to wrap up its dialogue with the Securities Exchange Commission next week, the source told The Journal. The SEC has to approve the IPO listing documents before Alibaba can set a price and launch the IPO deal.

Alibaba is not necessarily a household name stateside, but the IPO could change that. Its famous founder Jack Ma -- who some liken to China's Bill Gates -- has built a massive empire, including payment services, digital media and cloud computing. Alibaba is arguably the largest e-commerce company in the world. It dominates in China, where most of the 302 million people who shop online do so on an Alibaba site. Ma is ready to expand Alibaba's international reach.

According to a June SEC filing, Alibaba has chosen to employ a unique partnership model, which was formalized in 2010 and which will continue once the company goes public. The company argues that the model is more fair than a dual-class stock structure, in which only a handful of insiders control the company with a different class of more influential stock. The company said it will elect new partners each year.

For the fiscal year ended March 31, Alibaba saw its revenue rise by more than 50 percent to $8.45 billion, according to the filing. Its profits nearly tripled to $3.75 billion.

In addition to Ma, its board will be served by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, who is attempting to merge SoftBank's Sprint business with T-Mobile, and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang will also be a director.