Alibaba’s IPO roadshow is apparently going well enough that the company has decided to ask for a little more money.
Instead of the reported $60-$66 range that the Chinese e-commerce company was originally selling its shares for, it has upped the price to $66-$68, according to Wall Street Journal sources. The number of shares it’s offering hasn’t changed.
It’s already expected to be the biggest IPO the American stock market has ever seen, and if it performs at the upper end of its new pricing range, that will cement Alibaba’s crown. The change in price, a week after the start of its roadshow, suggests that investors have been hungry for a piece of the Alibaba action.
It’s not surprising, given that the company sees a remarkable 48 percent profit rate, meaning of the $8 billion in revenue it’s estimated to have brought in in 2013, Alibaba kept almost $4 billion in profit. Those are fantastic metrics compared to Alibaba’s biggest global competitor, Amazon, whose razor-thin profits have recently begun worrying its investors.
But some investors who have spent a lot of time in the Chinese startup market aren’t so sure Alibaba’s stock price is a good buy. “I wouldn’t invest,” Gary Rieschel, the Founding Managing Partner of Qiming Ventures said during a recent interview with Forbes contributer Rebecca Fannin. “They’ve priced all the value into the IPO price.” Rieschel is a good person to ask, given that he was an investor at Softbank when it made it’s original bet on Alibaba. He’s “ecstatic” for Alibaba and Softbank, but that doesn’t mean he wants part of the IPO.
Rieschel argued that Alibaba’s market share will decrease in China’s e-commerce space. It has saturated much of the market already, and strong competitors are emerging. Furthermore, as Alibaba has raised its fees for merchants, some of its strongest retailers have left the platform.
In the last year leading up to Alibaba’s IPO, the company has made several big investments in American startups, ranging from Lyft to Kabam. When asked by press at the Hong Kong roadshow launch party about its rainbow-like investment approach, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma gave some insight into his strategy. He told the crowd gathered that he wants his brand to be a “zoo that houses many animals rather than a farm which just has one animal.”