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Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans to offer a so-called friends and family share program to its employees and others close to the company, allowing them to purchase shares at the initial public offering price before the stock begins public trading, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people close to the matter.
Alibaba shares will be priced on Sept. 18, and will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on the 19th, under the ticker symbol BABA, sources told CNBC on Friday.
The company's roadshow, an effort to woo investors, will begin on Monday in New York City and visit a dozen cities before ending back in Manhattan on Sept. 18.
Buying shares at the IPO price is typically only made available to professional investors and a limited amount of individual investors, but the program was recently used by other Chinese firms, such as Weibo and JD.com, as a way to potentially reward key investors.
Similar programs were popular for U.S. companies during the dot-com boom, but they have since fallen out of fashion.
Alibaba has appointed Barclays as the designated market maker for the IPO, sources also told CNBC on Friday. Goldman Sachs will serve as "stabilization agent," people familiar with matter said, according to a Dow Jones report earlier this week.
Some analysts believe demand for the shares will be so strong that Alibaba could surpass the $16 billion raised by Facebook in 2012. That would value Alibaba at $150 billion to $200 billion, making it one of the most valuable U.S.-traded companies.
Click here to read the full WSJ report.
—By CNBC.com staff