The company is selling 500 million new shares, which on Wednesday it announced would be priced at HK$176 apiece, or roughly US$180 per New York-traded ADR, which is equivalent to eight shares. That price represents a 2.6% discount to the $185.25 Tuesday night closing price of the ADRs, and it is 6% below the maximum of HK$188 that the company had indicated.
Nevertheless, Alibaba confirmed that it will raise $11.3 billion (HK$88 billion) from the sale. And that the sum could rise to $13 billion (HK$101 billion), if an overallotment tranche of a further 75 million shares is called on over the next month.
Given the strong demand for the shares – the small retail allocation was 40 times subscribed – that seems likely, according to financial analysts. That should make the Alibaba share sale the biggest equity market offering anywhere in the world this year.
The new shares will begin trading in Hong Kong from Nov. 26. The exchange will also create futures and options derivatives based on the Alibaba stock.
The share sale suggested that the financial sector, which is crucial to Hong Kong’s economic success, continues to function despite the political turmoil that has gripped the territory for the past five months.
In recent days, the street protests which have pitted pro-democracy campaigners against a Beijing-loyal Hong Kong government, have caused the cancellation of multiple business and leisure events and tipped the Special Administrative Region’s economy into recession. Indeed, the financial district has for the past week witnessed a series of lunchtime protests by white collar workers, who have used bricks and street furniture to close roads in the city center.
The Hong Kong Golf Open, one of the prestige events on the Asian Tour, was cancelled on Wednesday, with organizers hoping to revive it some time in 2020. Other events called off in recent days include the 2020 edition of the Rise tech convention and the CineAsia film distributors’ and exhibitors’ convention and trade show.