However, once the excitement has subsided, the cold light of day will dawn, and given the history of Chinese and tech-listings it is unlikely to be a quiet ride. The high expectations that preceded the listing have meant the shares will enjoy a post-IPO ‘pop’ that could see them gain over 20% on the first day – the IG grey market on the closing market cap suggests the shares will gain that much on Friday.
However, for those who missed out on the IPO price, is it wise to go chasing after the shares in the weeks to come? The IPOs of Facebook and Twitter are instructive here, given that both firms saw heavy price declines in the months after their listing. The same fate might befall Alibaba – even given its impressive sales and profit growth.
One major factor will be what Alibaba insiders, i.e. its senior management team, do with their shares. Of the IPO proceeds, around 61% will go to executives and investors, such as Yahoo!, that have been with the firm for many years. However, this means that less than 40% of the proceeds will actually go to Alibaba itself, a figure smaller than that seen for Facebook at 43%.