22nd September 2014

Alibaba Shares Surge on Debut

With the iconic Wall Street building resplendent festooned in the orange and white colours of the firm, Alibaba's shares closed notably above their initial price on closing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Friday.

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Alibaba Shares Surge on Debut

NYSE festooned in Alibaba’s colours – Courtesy of Shutterstock

A clear indication of the appetite for the flotation, shares in the firm took the starting bell trading at $92.70 (£57). They were priced at $68 per share late on Thursday night.

At the end of trading, the shares had achieved a price per share of $93.89. The NYSE ticker name for the firm is BABA.

Closing at 38% above the initial launch price when the IPO was announced by the Chinese internet giant, over 100 million shares were being traded within minutes of the stock launch.

Raising nearly $21.8bn in in the share offer, Alibaba now has a company value of $231.4bn. That makes it significantly larger than either Amazon or Facebook. It is also just short of the market capitalisation of retail giant Walmart.

With an option for traders to buy another 48 illion shares in the firm a possibility, then the Chinese firm could realise a riasing war chest of little short of $25bn.

Responsible for over 80% of all e-commerce in China, the unequivocal backing of Alibaba is seen as a clear sign that investors are turning their attention to online sales in the country. Already huge, China has the highest number of internet users in the world, despite just half of their number being signed up to the internet.

Despite the strong performance there are some concerns from investors however.

Alibaba as a company is not being invested in directly but rather a Cayman Islands holding company is. A profits contract is in place between the two entities but is a significant factor in why the firm did not float on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

It is like that the offer will see a number of new millionaires created, though much of the stock is hekd by corporates. Japan’s Softbank is the latest sngle shareholder, holding a 32% stake in the internet firm. Yahoo has also been confirmed as having a significant stake.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma rang the opening NYSE bell on Friday morning.

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