China e-commerce firm Alibaba confirms seeking IPO

SHANGHAI, July 30 Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:53pm EDT

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SHANGHAI, July 30 (Reuters) - Alibaba.com [ALI.UL], China's largest e-commerce company, confirmed on Monday that it is making preparations for an initial public offering, as it seeks to raise capital to expand its international presence.

Alibaba, which has long been rumoured as an IPO candidate, is preparing to list its business-to-business unit in Hong Kong in the third quarter of this year, the official China Securities Journal reported on Monday.

"We have started preparations for an IPO," Alibaba spokeswoman Christina Splinder said, but declined to comment on details.

Alibaba had filed an application with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for an IPO, which was expected to raise HK$7.8 billion (US$1 billion), the newspaper added, citing unnamed sources. The company had also chosen Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) to handle the deal, the newspaper said, adding that investment bank Rothschild was also advising Alibaba on the listing. ($1 = HK$7.8)

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