Shares of Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group opened up 36% Friday over the initial offering price, giving the company a market cap of more than $225 billion — making it worth more, at the moment, than many major tech and media companies including Facebook, Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner, Amazon.com and Twitter.
Alibaba shares began trading Friday at about 11:53 a.m. Eastern under the symbol “BABA” on the New York Stock Exchange. It’s the biggest IPO in U.S. history, ahead of Visa’s $17.8 billion raised in 2008 and Facebook’s 2012 public debut that brought in $16 billion.
The IPO raised the company $21.8 billion at the initial offering price of $68 per share. The stock opened at $92.70 per share, with more than 100 million shares changing hands in the first 20 minutes of trading. Shares peaked at $99.70 apiece before trending down to $90.20 per share an hour into trading.
[UPDATE: Alibaba closed Friday at $93.89 per share, up 38% from its IPO price, with a market capitalization of $231.4 billion.]
Yahoo, a minority stakeholder in Alibaba, will sell 121.7 million of its shares to yield a haul of about $8.3 billion. However, the Internet media company said it will return at least half of the post-tax proceeds to shareholders. With the sale, Yahoo’s stake in Alibaba will drop from 22.4% to 16.3%.
While the investor enthusiasm surrounding its IPO makes Alibaba one of the most valuable enterprises on the planet right now, tech titans Apple, Google and Microsoft each currently have bigger market caps.
Alibaba, which says it has aggressive U.S. expansion plans, is the largest e-commerce company in the world, processing some $248 billion worth of online transactions last year — more than Amazon.com and eBay combined. The company, led by founder and CEO Jack Ma, also has made moves to secure a position in the Asian entertainment business.
Alibaba’s profits tripled in the second quarter of 2014, to $2 billion up from $700 million the year prior. Revenue shot up 46% in the period, to $2.54 billion.