Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. added Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley to the sales force of its Hong Kong listing, and invited several Chinese banks to do the same, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The Chinese e-commerce giant plans to start taking investor orders on Nov. 15, after its Singles’ Day sale, and price the offering on Nov. 20, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The deal could raise as much as $15 billion, people familiar with the matter have said.
At least four state-owned Chinese investment banks — ABC International Holdings Ltd., CCB International Holdings Ltd., ICBC International Holdings Ltd., Bank of China International Ltd. — have been invited to take on junior roles, other people familiar said. The deadline for the banks to reply is Monday, the people added.
Alibaba had aimed to list in Hong Kong as early as over the summer before pro-democracy protests rocked the financial hub, while trade tensions between Washington and Beijing clouded the market’s outlook.
Listing closer to home has been a long-time dream of billionaire Jack Ma — a move that curries favor with Beijing and hedges against trade war risks.
An Alibaba representative couldn’t immediately comment. Representatives of Citigroup, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley declined to comment. Representatives at the Chinese banks didn’t immediately respond to emailed queries outside of business hours.
The timing and size of the offering could change due to market conditions, said the people. Credit Suisse Group AG and China International Capital Corp. are leading Alibaba’s share sale, Bloomberg has reported.
Alibaba could put the capital to work investing in new technologies such as artificial intelligence or fast-expanding affiliates such as Ant Financial. A successful Hong Kong share sale could also help finance a costly war of subsidies with Meituan Dianping in food delivery and travel, and divert investor cash from rivals like Meituan and WeChat-operator Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Alibaba — which had roughly $57 billion of cash and equivalents as of September — rode a national e-commerce boom that stemmed from an increasingly affluent middle class. The company on Monday will wrap up its most important sales event of the year — Singles’ Day — offering further clues on the health of consumption.