Alibaba files to go public: Yes, it's that big


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    A Chinese Alibaba employee walks through

    Alibaba could be the biggest IPO in history. Click through to see the the other top 5 IPO's

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    No. 5: UPS raised $5.5 billion in its IPO in November of 1999

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    No. 4: Kraft took in $8.7 billion in its IPO in June of 2001

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    No. 3: General Motors raised $15.8 billion in its IPO in November of 2010.

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    No. 2: Facebook raised $16 billion in May of 2012

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    No. 1: Visa brought in $17.9 billion in March of 2008

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UPDATED: Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group filed a Form F-1 registration statement on Tuesday, saying it intended to raise $1 billion in an initial public offering. But analysts say the company will likely raise more in the end -- as much as $20 billion. That would make it the biggest since Facebook raised $16 billion in an IPO in 2012. One note: The company says it sells more stuff, and thus generates more package deliveries every year, than UPS does globally.

Analysts have predicted that all told the company could be valued upwards of $150 to $200 billion. Its high valuation is a factor of its scale, its dominance in the Chinese e-commerce market, and its highly successful monetization of its platform through ad revenue.

As a company, Alibaba is often described as a combination of eBay and Amazon, but you could throw in a little PayPal, Yahoo, and Citigroup too. Alibaba has a sizable role in mobile banking and online advertising technology.

So here is a comparison of Alibaba with those companies for some perspective on just how big it is.

About the author

Sabri Ben-Achour is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the New York City bureau. He covers Wall Street, finance, and anything New York and money related.

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