Although Alibaba declines to comment on its plan to go public, it is a public secret that preparations are in full swing to return to the Hongkong Stock Exchange (SEHK).
So far the press on the expected IPO has been very positive. Therefore the news shared by several market sources that the prospects for a SEHK listing have dimmed dramatically, came as a surprise. The desire from Jack Ma to remain in control of Alibaba also after its IPO conflicts with the SEHK listing rules that forbid a dual structure that separates voting and ownership rights.
Jack Ma has a 7,4% stake in Alibaba, while the management team all-together has a 10,4% stake. Big shareholders in Alibaba are Japan’s Softbank, owning 36,7%, and Yahoo, owning (still) 24% of all shares.