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Alibaba worth $142 billion: 'Dean of valuation'

Alibaba phenomenal money maker: Pro

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which filed for its initial public offering this week, could be worth more than $140 billion, New York University professor and valuation expert Aswath Damodaran said Thursday.

"My estimate is about $125 billion before they bring in the cash, maybe $140 billion with the cash from the IPO," he said on CNBC's "Fast Money."

Analysts have been buzzing over what the Chinese technology-and-commerce company is actually worth ahead of its IPO.

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Damodaran's exact estimate is $60 per share, which would value the company at $142.59 billion.

"I think it's a great company," he said. "I was actually surprised by how much the company makes."

The professor noted that investors should be warned that they are not actually buying shares of the e-commerce giant but shares of a shell company under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government.

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"With any Chinese company, you know the government has its finger on them. You don't get to be the most successful Chinese company by chance. So I'm not sure who Jack Ma knows, but that has to be a factor here," Damodaran explained. "And one thing that would worry me is the fact that the legal set-up with this, as with many Chinese companies, essentially puts me at the mercy of what the Chinese government thinks about the company."