The retail investor may not stand much of a chance of getting into Alibaba's highly anticipated initial public offering, but GVA Research's David Garrity told CNBC another way to own the Chinese e-commerce giant ahead of its IPO is through Softbank.
The Japanese mobile telecommunications business owns 34 percent of Alibaba and is not selling any of its shares. Yahoo is another way, Garrity added, but it is selling an 8 percent interest in Alibaba.
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"With Softbank, the benefit you have is you have a manager who basically knows how to be a billionaire, there is no reinvestment risk as there is with [Yahoo CEO] Melissa Mayer."
Plus, Garrity said, Softbank has a big portfolio to work with given its ownership of Sprint.
Shares of Alibaba are set to hit the market next Friday in what is expected to be the biggest IPO in U.S. history. Approximately $1.5 billion in stock has been earmarked for individuals deemed family and friends of the founders, and that is likely to replace any traditional allocation for retail investors.
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Orders from investors are due early next week and have already surpassed the number of shares being sold. That demand is expected to push the offering price above the current expanded range of $60 to $66, sources told CNBC.
With questions surrounding the governance of Alibaba, Garrity said investors may arguably be better off owning the company through a name that has a large stake, like Softbank.
"As an outside investor, given the ownership structure you're not really going to have a much of a say. You might as well align yourself with a company that's got a big seat at the table."
That said, he noted, "Alibaba is priced to sell and sell well" and looking forward "Alibaba is going to have the China market pretty much to their own."
—By CNBC's Michelle Fox. CNBC's Kayla Tausche contributed to this report.