We’d heard that the US IPO for Chinese company Alibaba could be among the biggest ever, and it did not disappoint. Closing at a stock price of $93.89, it raised $21.8 billion for the company and is the biggest IPO in US history. According to Bloomberg, it could become the biggest ever if underwriters make use of an option to buy more shares, which market observers expect they will. Now that Alibaba has joined the club of recent tech IPOs like Facebook and Twitter and it has cash to throw around, many wonder if it will start acquiring smaller companies the way its Silicon Valley rivals have lately.
The long-awaited public market debut of the Alibaba Group, the Chinese Internet titan, did not disappoint on Friday, eclipsing every other company that has started to sell stock so far this year. After pricing at $68 a share on Thursday night, Alibaba’s shares opened sharply higher on Friday and finished the day up 38 percent, at $93.89. Yet even Alibaba’s blockbuster stock sale appears unlikely to dampen a yearlong enthusiasm for initial public offerings as start-ups and private companies continue to flock to the stock markets. Ever since it filed to go public in May, Alibaba has dominated headlines about its public offering. But it was entering a market that has already been filled with new stock issues. There have been 195 public offerings priced so far this year in the United States, according to data from Renaissance Capital, an increase of 34 percent compared with the numbers in the period a year earlier. “The I.P.O. market right now is robust and healthy,” said David Ethridge, the head of capital markets for the New York Stock Exchange. “We’re seeing participation from every sector of the economy.”