The online retailer, which could be valued at more than $60 billion, decided to explore listing in New York after spending months trying to persuade the Hong Kong Exchange to allow founder Jack Ma and a group of 27 other top executives to nominate a majority of board directors – despite owning only a little more than 10 per cent of the company.
In the U.S., founders of technology companies including Google and Facebook have managed to keep control of key decisions after becoming a public company by issuing dual-class shares – though notably the other much-awaited technology IPO of the year, Twitter, will not employ this structure.
(Read more: Google shares hit new high after earnings beat)
Alibaba has now got the deal it wants, removing any chance it would have to go back to Hong Kong or another Asian exchange. People familiar with its plans have previously said the company is aiming to list its shares as soon as early next year but as it has not yet filed its paperwork, it is unlikely the company has decided which U.S. exchange it will list on.
Nonetheless, investors have been getting excited at the prospect of buying a slice of the Chinese e-commerce market.
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Analysts say many have piled into Yahoo because of its 24 percent stake in the company, driving shares up by over 70 per cent so far this year. Last week, Yahoo said it had reached a new deal so it could keep hold of more than half of its Alibaba stake after the IPO.
Alibaba's set of e-commerce sites dominate online shopping in China, from business-to-business on Alibaba.com to consumer purchases on TMall and Taobao. The company also owns Alipay, an online payment processor, which transacts half of all online payments in China.