Alibaba's potentially record-smashing IPO just got a little bigger. The Chinese e-commerce giant boosted the offering price of its shares to as much as $68 compared to the initial range of $60 to $66, a regulatory filing indicates.
The new price comes days before the expected public offering on Sept. 19 and as the underwriting banks and stopped taking orders for the IPO due to the fact that it was heavily oversubscribed. The IPO is expected to raise $21.8 billion, and could value the company at $168 billion at the high end of the new $66 to $68 range.
The increase comes after a well-attended road show in the U.S. that drew 800 people in New York City last week and 500 more in Hong Kong Monday. While Alibaba may be confusing to U.S. retail investors, American institutions and hedge funds are placing giant orders for shares. The New York Times reported a single U.S. hedge fund put in an order for $3 billion in American depository shares.
Some have suggested Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) could raise the IPO price above $70 because the company is still priced favorably compared to some of its peers, but founder Jack Ma has repeatedly said he doesn't want to raise the price just because he can. Facebook's botched 2013 IPO offers a cautionary tale: pre-market demand for that IPO was also strong, but the stock fell after it started trading on the NASDAQ and took months to recover.
The company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BABA.