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Alibaba denies ditching HK for IPO

Updated: 2013-09-27 07:07
By Gao Changxin in Hong Kong and Meng Jing in Beijing ( China Daily)

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Thursday denied media reports that it had ditched Hong Kong in favor of the United States for its planned IPO, which is estimated to raise up to $75 billion.

An Alibaba representative in Beijing told China Daily that the country's leading Internet conglomerate is sticking to what it has previously said: that it has made no final decision on the timing, location and terms for the issue, projected to be one of the world's biggest this year.

"Reports claiming that Alibaba has chosen the US over Hong Kong are not true," the person said.

When asked by China Daily whether Alibaba had chosen to list in the US rather than Hong Kong and whether the company had received a final response from the Hong Kong stock exchange, Alibaba Chief Executive Officer Lu Zhaoxi replied "not yet" at about 5 pm on Thursday via his account on Laiwang, a mobile chatting app, that was recently launched by his company.

He didn't say whether his response was to one question or both.

The listing committee of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd held its weekly meeting on Thursday.

Hong Kong media outlets reported that the committee discussed the IPO and decided not to make rule changes to accommodate Alibaba's corporate structure, which allows its minority shareholding management to take control of the board and effectively take control of the company.

A spokeswoman for HKEx declined to reveal the listing committee's discussions, saying that it's a tradition that the agendas at these meetings are not disclosed publicly. She noted that while some media organizations reported the Alibaba IPO was on the agenda, others said it hadn't been discussed.

Charles Li, HKEx's chief executive, on Thursday hinted that the HKEx might not compromise its rules for Alibaba. He wrote in a blog post on Wednesday that "as enshrined in our charter, in the event of a conflict, public interest is put ahead of shareholder interest at HKEx".

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