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Alibaba's arrival presaged by ever growing paper trail

Alibaba.com's headquarters in Hangzhou, China
Thomas Lombard | Wikipedia
Alibaba.com's headquarters in Hangzhou, China

What's up with the flurry of activity around Alibaba?

Wall Street is expecting the hotly awaited initial public offering (IPO) either the week of September 15th, or the week of the 22nd. Market watchers expect the giant's IPO to net as much as $20 billion.

One problem that keeps stoking confusion in the market: they keep updating their filings. On Wednesday, the company released what was at least their third update in as many months. In their latest adjustment to their S-1 filing, they changed their recent revenue figures...revenues for the three months ended June 2013 to June 2014 increased 46 percent to more than $2.5 billion.

Another issue: they keep buying things. Recently, they have taken a stake in a Chinese soccer team (Guangzhou Evergrande), a department store (Intime Retail), a mapping service (AutoNavi) and a 30 percent stake in microblogging site Weibo.

Read MoreReport: Snapchat talks $10B valuation with Alibaba

Once they file their terms (size and price) they will need at least a week-and-a-half to get the roadshow together. That means they need to announce terms next week at the latest.

The road show should begin at the end of next week or the very beginning of the week after (September 8th). That leaves a likely date for the IPO the week of September 15th or September 22nd. It's a tight schedule.

--By CNBC's Bob Pisani

  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Wall Street