Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET Friday
Shares of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba are set to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange Friday after pricing at $68 a piece last night, topping the company’s initial expected range.
The stock offering, which was expected to be one of the world’s largest, will raise at least $21.8 billion. However, CNBC reported Friday morning that underwriters may make use of an overallotment option, which is called a “green shoe,” meaning more shares of the company could be sold, potentially raising over $25 billion and making the IPO the biggest in history.
The stock sale places the company in the ranks of the most valuable Internet companies with a market capitalization of some $168 billion, exceeding industry standard bearers like Amazon and Twitter . It also puts an exclamation point on China’s rapid rise in the technology industry and its growing ambitions overseas including in the United States.
The Hangzhou, China-based company will begin trading on the NYSE under the ticker BABA. Trading in the stock is expected to debut at around 11 a.m. ET.
The opening of trading is likely to be approached with some caution by the NYSE, however, as Alibaba seeks to avoid a Facebook-style shock. One trader on the floor of the NYSE told Fortune he thinks he could be eating his lunch by the time the stock starts trading.
Mark Otto, senior floor official with J Streicher said most traders he talked with expect the stock to open between $75 and $85.
Peter P. Costa, president of Empire Executions, said: “Me and a handful of others think it’s going to open above $90.”
Alibaba, essentially China’s version of eBay, had initially expected its shares to sell for $60 to $66 in the IPO. But earlier this week, following strong investor demand, it raised the high-end of its expected price range to $68.
Visa previously held the title as the biggest U.S. IPO at $17.9 billion. But Alibaba had fallen short of becoming the biggest offering worldwide. That record is still held by Agricultural Bank of China, which raised $24.3 billion when it went public in Hong Kong in 2010.
At its offering price, Alibaba’s market value of $168 billion makes it the highest-valued internet company at the time of its public debut. Facebook was worth $104 billion when it IPO-ed in 2012, and Google was valued at $23 billion in 2004.
Alibaba was co-founded in 1999 by Jack Ma, a former English teacher who has become one of China’s best-known businessmen. The company started as an online marketplace for businesses to sell products to one another but quickly expanded into consumer sales and online payments. Alibaba is now a global hub for selling everything from electronic parts to engines to stuffed animals. It also has a growing portfolio of U.S. investments including ShopRunner, an online delivery service, and ride-hailing app Lyft.
Alibaba is keeping nearly $8.3 billion of the IPO proceeds. A long list of insiders and early investors are also cashing out including Ma, who will make around $900 million, and Yahoo, which sold about a quarter of its stake for more than $8 billion.
Alibaba enters the market during a stellar year for technology stocks. The Dow Jones Internet Composite Index is up 15.6% over the past 12 months compared to a 9.9% rise for the overall Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Investors are hoping Alibaba can continue to ride this wave to even higher stock gains after its debut.
Alibaba’s offer was managed by Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sach, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Citi.
- TIME's 100 Most Influential People of 2022
- Employers Take Note: Young Workers Are Seeking Jobs with a Higher Purpose
- Signs Are Pointing to a Slowdown in the Housing Market—At Last
- Welcome to the Era of Unapologetic Bad Taste
- As the Virus Evolves, COVID-19 Reinfections Are Going to Keep Happening
- A New York Mosque Becomes a Refuge for Afghan Teens Who Fled Without Their Families
- High Gas Prices are Oil Companies' Fault says Ro Khanna, and Democrats Should Go After Them
- Two Million Cases: COVID-19 May Finally Force North Korea to Open Up