It's official, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has officially filed with the security and exchange commission for an initial public officer (IPO). The IPO prospectus filed with the SEC will give the first deep look into the company's finances, until now Alibaba's financials were only visible through Yahoo Inc., which holds a 24% stake in the company.
Alibaba is working with some of the world's biggest banks to place its shares. Smaller investors and money managers will likely spend some time sizing up the company, which is known in the U.S. more by reputation than by direct interaction. Still, its reputation precedes it impressively, with analysts placing the company's overall value between $115 billion to $245 billion. Alibaba is by far China's largest e-commerce player, with three major marketplaces pulling in about 80% of all the online shopping traffic in China.
Alibaba's IPO is expected to be one of the largest stock listings in U.S. history. Today's announcement now kicks off a whirlwind of preparation in the few months before the deal actually gets underway.