The hype surrounding the float of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba climbed one notch higher on Thursday, with one London-based spread better revealing expectations of an initial valuation reaching as much as $250 billion.
A "grey market" for its shares has sprung up after the company announced on Sunday that it had decided to begin the process of an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States, ending months of speculation. This unofficial pre-market enables traders to place bets as to what level its market capitalization will close at after the first day of official trading.
London-based spread better IG Markets told CNBC that the highest bid it had received for Alibaba's valuation had been $250 billion. It had received no sell orders. "It's IPO central around here at the moment," Brenda Kelly, a market strategist at the company told CNBC via telephone. A figure of that magnitude would mean Alibaba would emerge as the world's tenth-biggest company by market value, according to Reuters data.
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Kelly added that the heightened interest had been garnered by the previous listings of Facebook and Twitter, but said that its growth possibilities meant it could receive a lot more attention. "This is the grand daddy of them all, I reckon," she said.