Alibaba soared to magical heights Friday in its first day of trading, after the Chinese e-commerce giant raised a record-breaking $ 21.8 billion in its initial public offering.
The company’s shares, priced at $ 68 on Thursday, opened at $ 92.70 and surged to just under $ 100 during a day of frenetic trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Shares fluctuated throughout the day, reaching a low of $ 89.95 before closing at $ 93.89, a 38% gain.
The stock started trading at noon on Friday, delayed some two hours because of huge trading imbalances. More than 100 million shares changed hands in the first 10 minutes of trading.
Alibaba is now valued at more than $ 231 billion — larger than Amazon and eBay combined — and more than all but nine companies in the S&P 500 index.
We want to be bigger than Wal-Mart.
It easily passed Facebook’s $ 202 billion market cap and is behind only Apple, Google and Microsoft among U.S.-traded tech companies.
“We want to be bigger than Wal-Mart,” said Alibaba founder Jack Ma after ringing the opening bell Friday on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
“We hope in 15 years people say this is a company like Microsoft, IBM, Wal-Mart; they changed (and) shaped the world.”
While Alibaba is unknown to most Americans, it is ubiquitous in China, where it’s responsible for 80% of online sales and caters to the needs of the growing middle class.
The company, which operates retail websites similar to Amazon and eBay, earned $ 3.7 billion in the 12 months ended March 31, up about $ 2 billion from the prior 12-month period.
Ma, a former English teacher who founded Alibaba in his apartment in 1999, is now China’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
He added $ 5 billion to his pre-IPO net worth of $ 22 billion thanks to a near 8% stake in the company.
With News Wire Services