Alibaba London listing on the cards

Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 | 5:56 AM ET
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The $60 billion initial public offering (IPO) of Chinese internet shopping giant Alibaba may have a London element to it.

Alibaba is considering a secondary share offering on the London Stock Exchange, according to people familiar with the events. The LSE declined to comment.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE) rejected the company's plans to issue shares on its market over corporate governance concerns. Alibaba is issuing shares as part of an agreement with backer Yahoo!, which wants to offload some of its 24 percent stake.

Since then, speculation has built about where it will hold the share offering, and which investment banks will benefit from underwriting it. A source at the company said that there was "no time-table" for the share offering yet, and the company has not yet appointed underwriters or fixed on a location.

Jonathan Lu, Alibaba's chief executive officer, said earlier this month that the company would not pursue a listing in Hong Kong, despite the fact that most of its business is carried out there. HKSE authorities had raised concerns that its top executives wielded more power over operational decisions than ordinary shareholders.

Alibaba, which was founded 14 years ago by former English teacher Jack Ma, declined to comment.

If it chooses London as a secondary listing for its IPO, it will be one of a series of deals marking closer U.K.-China co-operation arising from a visit to the country from the U.K.'s Finance Minister, George Osborne. These have included a high-profile Chinese investment in a new nuclear power plant in the U.K.

—By CNBC's Catherine Boyle. Twitter: @cboylecnbc.

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