Alibaba gets clearance to list in the US

Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 | 12:45 AM ET
Alibaba.com Headquarters in Hangzhou, China
Thomas Lombard | Wikipedia
Alibaba.com Headquarters in Hangzhou, China

Any worries that Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce company, would not be able to list its shares in the US appear to have been put to rest.

The company, which is preparing for an initial public offering in the coming months, has received assurances from the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq that the partnership structure for its expected share offering will be permitted under the rules of both exchanges.

According to media reports confirmed by a person familiar with the matter, Alibaba will now be able to go public with the structure that the Hong Kong Exchange refused to accept. NYSE, Nasdaq and Alibaba declined to comment.

(Watch now: Twitter trying to beat Alibaba?)

Faber Report: Yahoo's ownership of Alibaba
CNBC's David Faber reports on Yahoo's ownership of Alibaba, the company's extraordinary numbers and its upcoming IPO.

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.

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