Alibaba Cheat Sheet

Investor excitement about Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s upcoming initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange is gathering pace.

The market debut — expected to raise more than $20 billion — is predicted to be one of the largest in history globally and is slated for the first half of August, although a date has not yet been specified.

Below is a guide to Alibaba by the numbers and why the company is predicted to rapidly shake up the e-commerce landscape in the U.S.

1. The company was started in founder and CEO Jack Ma’s apartment in Hangzhou, China, in 1999. Alibaba had 20,884 employees this last Dec. 31.

2. Analysts estimate that the company is valued at between $136 billion and $245 billion. Alibaba plans to list on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “BABA.”

3. The company decided to list in the U.S. rather than Hong Kong because Hong Kong regulators would not allow it to list its shares with a special partnership structure.

4. Alibaba’s China retail marketplace businesses include Taobao Marketplace, China’s largest online shopping destination, Tmall and Juhuasuan. Its core business involves helping small vendors and brands sell goods on its marketplace websites.

5.  Alibaba primarily derives its revenue from online marketing services — where sellers are charged marketing fees to acquire user traffic — and commissions based on gross merchandise value for transactions settled on sites Tmall and Juhuasuan.

6. For the international commerce retail business, Alibaba primarily generates revenue from AliExpress, its international retail marketplace, through commissions.

7. Alibaba posted revenue growth of 66 percent in the first quarter of 2014 year-on-year. The EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) margin for the period was 54 percent. Both figures were the highest level for the company.

8. The company said in the prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that its sales for the nine months ended Dec. 31 rose 57 percent to $6.51 billion year-on-year. Net income for the period rose more than 300 percent to $2.85 billion year-on-year.

9. Yahoo — which holds a 22.5 percent stake in Alibaba — continues to benefit from the company’s reaccelerating revenue growth and high margins.

10. Yahoo is expected to sell about 40 percent of its stake in the company in the IPO, which could generate more than $10 billion and double Yahoo’s cash balance.

11. Alibaba remains on an acquisition spree. It purchased a 50 percent stake in China’s Guangzhou Evergrande soccer team for 1.2 billion yuan ($192 million) in June.

The company is already making its presence in the U.S. felt ahead of its public listing through the launch in June of e-commerce site 11 Main, which combines specialty shops and boutiques on one platform.

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