Alibaba Denies Hiring Investment Banks for Share Sale

Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd., China’s biggest e-commerce company, denied hiring Credit Suisse Group AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to arrange an initial public offering in Hong Kong.

“We have not hired any banks in connection with any IPOs,” John Spelich, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Alibaba, said yesterday by telephone. Officials at Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Investment banks are vying for a role on a possible Alibaba IPO, said three people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. An offering could happen this year, and potentially raise $3 billion to $4 billion, according to an estimate from one of the people.

A deal of that size could potentially be the largest Internet IPO since Facebook Inc., and would follow Alibaba’s re-purchase of a stake from Yahoo! Inc. last year in a deal that valued the Hangzhou-based company at $35 billion. Alibaba this week announced billionaire founder Jack Ma’s decision to step down as chief executive officer following an organizational restructuring.

(Corrects story first published Jan. 16 to say Alibaba hasn’t hired banks for an IPO.)
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