Alibaba sets price range for massive IPO

Alibaba, the Chinese Internet giant on its way to staging what could be the biggest initial public offering in history, wants to sell its shares at between $60 to $66 apiece. At the midpoint of that range, that would value the e-commerce company at a staggering $155 billion.

The company said in a filing Friday it would offer 320.1 million American depositary shares along with the extra shares traditionally added on the side for the deal's underwriters. The filing lists a proposed maximum price per share of $66. The stock is expected to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the "BABA" symbol.

If all goes according to plan, the IPO could raise as much as $24.3 billion for the company, The Wall Street Journal reported (paywall). It would be the largest IPO ever at that threshold. Visa (V) raised $17.9 billion in 2008, Facebook (FB) raised $16 billion in 2012 and General Motors (GM) raised $15.8 billion in 2010.

Alibaba is the largest e-commerce company in the world, with nearly $250 billion in revenue last year. Two of its best-known sites are Taobao and Tmall, which are extremely popular in China. The company recently opened a U.S. retail site called 11 Main, but the site is still reserved only for invited shoppers. As Alibaba turns its focus to the U.S., experts believe it could pose a major threat to Amazon.com (AMZN), eBay (EBAY) and other e-commerce sites.

The company is expected to embark upon a two-week "roadshow" in which it presents itself and its finances to large investor groups for review. The IPO is widely expected to take place sometime after Sept. 19.

One of Alibaba's largest investors is Yahoo (YHOO), which plans to sell enough shares in the IPO to cut its stake to 16.3 percent from 22.4 percent, The Journal reported.

  • Kim Peterson

    Kim Peterson is a financial journalist covering business and the economy. She has written for several online and print publications, including MSN Money and The Seattle Times.