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商业 - 科技

赴美上市不只是阿里巴巴的大事情

Tyler Falk 2014年04月29日

赴美上市不只是阿里巴巴自己的大事。它不仅有望像Facebook一样跻身近期以及未来相当长一段时间之内规模最大的IPO行列,而且它上市的成败还有可能对未来有意赴美上市的中国公司产生重大影响。

    在美国,“阿里巴巴”(Alibaba)现在的知名度还赶不上“亚马逊”(Amazon)、“eBay”或“Facebook”。至少现在还是这样。

    但是就在今天,这个中国、(据某些预测)甚至是全球最大的电子商务网站有可能在美国提交IPO(首次公开募股)申请。而且,它或许将成为史上(至少在2012年Facebook轰动一时的上市之后)最大规模的IPO之一。

    IPO并不是什么家喻户晓的事件,但是阿里巴巴的IPO将大到不容忽视。出于不同原因,人们经常把阿里巴巴描述为亚马逊、eBay和贝宝(PayPal)——美国所有成功科技公司的混合体。阿巴里里的顶级资产——消费者对消费者(C2C)在线购物网站淘宝网(Taobao)和企业对消费者(B2C)姐妹网站天猫商城(Tmall)——每天共吸引1亿以上独立访客,是中国访客人数最多的网站之一。

    这意味着如果您在中国进行网上购物,您的部分购物款项最后极有可能进入阿里巴巴的金库。中国五分之四的在线购物收入归阿里巴巴市场所有。去年“双十一”(美国“网购星期一”的中国版)期间,阿里巴巴的两大购物网站24小时内收入达到57.5亿美元,相当于美国所有在线零售网站在去年“网购星期一”期间收入的两倍。

    美国莱斯大学(Rice University)战略管理教授和中国商务专家张延表示,“阿里巴巴公司规模庞大,是中国最著名的企业之一。”

    大多数投资者因为雅虎公司(Yahoo)持有阿里巴巴大量股份而得知阿里巴巴。雅虎的持股可以追溯到2005年雅虎联合创始人杨致远和阿里巴巴CEO马云谈判达成的协议。当时,美国科技公司流行对中国前景广泛的互联网公司进行投资。

    如今,雅虎公司持有阿里巴巴24%的股份,必须在阿里巴巴按计划上市时出售它手头持有股份的五分之二。因为阿里巴巴将在预期上市前实现收入的迅速增长,位于加州森尼维耳市的雅虎公司将从中受益。

    4月初,伯恩斯坦研究公司(Bernstein Research)分析师卡洛斯•克金格在雅虎公司发布季度收益后撰写了一份研究纪要。他指出,“阿里巴巴超越预期,收入同比增长66%,实现了利润的大幅增长。”

    分析师普遍认为阿里巴巴将在上市时募集至少150亿美元。(Facebook在2012年上市时募集160亿美元。)克金格预测,阿里巴巴可能的估值将高达2,450亿美元,成为美国第九大在标普500(S&P 500)上市的公司,排名紧跟沃尔玛(Wal-Mart)之后。【阿里巴巴没有回应《财富》杂志(Fortune)提出的关于它IPO的询问。】

    至于雅虎公司在阿里巴巴上市后的发展趋势,目前尚不得而知。投资者对此观点不一:部分投资者认为,雅虎公司将在首席执行官玛丽莎•梅耶尔的领导下走向好转;其他投资者则认为,阿里巴巴上市后,雅虎公司对阿里巴巴的投资将不再是雅虎的依靠,或许使雅虎公司的部分投资者不再继续对这家低增长的公司投资。

    “过去,如果您希望持有阿里巴巴的股份,对雅虎公司投资即可。而现在,您可以直接持有阿里巴巴的股份,”投资研究公司B. Riley分析师萨米特•辛哈告诉《财富》杂志。

    辛哈补充道,他不会提前预测阿里巴巴上市后的最大赢家和输家。上市只会让阿里巴巴募集大量资金,变得更加透明。

    他说:“此外,我认为,从商业角度而言,上市不会产生太大的影响,因为美国的许多公司地理分布与(阿里巴巴)并不相同。”

    In the United States, "Alibaba" doesn't have the same ring as "Amazon," "eBay," or "Facebook." Not yet, anyway.

    But as soon as today, the largest e-commerce website in China -- and, according to some estimates, the world -- could file for an initial public offering in the United States. It could be quite possibly one of the largest public offerings in history. (Or at least since Facebook's (FB) blockbuster IPO in 2012.)

    An IPO does not a household name make, but Alibaba's offering is poised to be too big to ignore. The company is often described as a mix of Amazon (AMZN), eBay (EBAY), and PayPal (PYPL) -- all successful U.S. technology companies for very different reasons. Alibaba's top properties, the consumer-to-consumer online shopping portal Taobao and the business-to-consumer sister site Tmall, together attract more than 100 million unique visitors each day and are among China's most visited websites.

    Which means that if you're shopping online in China, it's highly likely that some of your money ends up in Alibaba's coffers. Four out of every five dollars spent online in China goes to an Alibaba marketplace. Last year, during Single's Day -- China's version of Cyber Monday in the U.S. -- Alibaba's top two marketplaces brought in $5.75 billion in 24 hours. That's double what all U.S. online retailers are estimated to have made during last year's Cyber Monday.

    "Alibaba is huge," said Yan Zhang, a professor of strategic management at Rice University and an expert on Chinese businesses. "It's one of the best-known names in China."

    Most investors know Alibaba because of Yahoo's (YHOO) sizable stake in the company, which dates to a 2005 deal negotiated by Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang and Alibaba CEO Jack Ma at a time when it was popular for U.S. technology companies to invest in promising Chinese Internet businesses.

    Today, Yahoo owns 24% of Alibaba and must sell two-fifths of its stake when the company makes its expected offering. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company stands to benefit as Alibaba's revenue growth picks up steam ahead of the anticipated offering.

    "Holy Alibaba," Bernstein Research analyst Carlos Kirjner wrote in a research note earlier this month after Yahoo reported its quarterly earnings. "Alibaba crushed expectations posting year-over-year revenue growth of 66% and massive margin expansion."

    Analysts generally expect Alibaba to raise at least $15 billion in its offering. (To compare, Facebook raised $16 billion in its 2012 IPO.) Kirjner estimates the possible valuation of Alibaba to be as high as $245 billion, which would make it the ninth-largest U.S.-listed company on the S&P 500, just behind Wal-Mart (WMT). (Alibaba did not respond to a Fortune inquiry regarding the company's IPO.)

    What is less clear is how Yahoo fares in the wake of the offering. Investor outlook has been mixed for the company: Some see it turning around under chief executive Marissa Mayer; others see its Alibaba investment as a crutch the company will be without once it goes public, potentially dissuading some Yahoo investors from sticking with the (lower-growth) company.

    "If you wanted to own Alibaba you invested in Yahoo. Now you can own Alibaba directly," B. Riley analyst Sameet Sinha told Fortune.

    Sinha added that he doesn't anticipate big winners and losers in the wake of Alibaba's IPO. The offering will merely allow Alibaba to raise a lot more capital and become more transparent.

    "Beyond that," he said, "I don't think it's going to have much of an impact from a business standpoint because a lot of the U.S. companies don't have the same geographic footprint [as Alibaba]."

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