Tech giant Alibaba Group is exploring a U.S. initial public offering for its international online shopping unit as part of its plan to split up the company into different business units, per Bloomberg.
The company is only in the early stages of the plan and the size of such an offering has not been determined, per the report. However, Alibaba already is in talks with banks to serve as underwriters and the offering could happen sometime next year.
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The firm’s international online shopping unit includes brands such as Lazada and AliExpress.
Alibaba is already moving along with plans for two other business units — Cainiao Network Technology and Freshippo — to have IPOs in Hong Kong.
In March, Aliababa said it would break up the company into different business units to improve organizational efficiency and make each new business more agile.
The possible choice for a U.S. listing is interesting on a couple fronts.
First, such a listing would allow the unit — named Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group — to access investors cautious of investing in China as global political tensions continue to ratchet up. China-based fashion startup Shein also has made noise about seeking a U.S. listing later this year.
It also is interesting timing, as the U.S. IPO market has been under a deep chill for more than a year now with little sign of any type of thaw.
While companies like Instacart, Navan (formerly TripActions) and Stripe have made overtures they would go public, none seem very close, and some investors do not expect the IPO pipeline to reopen until late next year.
However, on Thursday Johnson & Johnson-owned Kenvue went public with the largest IPO since electric-vehicle maker Rivian listed in late 2021.
On the same day, it also was reported that marketing software company Klaviyo — valued at $9.5 billion — had added two new board members as it looks at a potential IPO. The company already has hired bankers to work on the offering, per an earlier report.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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