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2014-05-06    来源:fortune    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


What you need to know about Alibaba's IPO

As the Chinese Internet giant prepares for a public offering, Fortune looks at its potential impact -- for Alibaba, for Yahoo, and for the market as a whole.

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."
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。”

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."
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。”

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.)
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。】

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.
“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。

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]."

That may soon change. Alibaba is reportedly looking to bring its e-commerce business to the U.S. and is ramping up its investments in U.S.-based companies. (Ahead of its IPO, Alibabaparticipated in a $250 million funding round for ride-sharing app Lyft, as well as investedabout $200 million in the U.S. retail site ShopRunner and $215 million in the mobile messaging app Tango.) The company is expected to launch an e-commerce site, 11 Main, "where hand-picked shop owners connect with customers in a stylish and professionally merchandised marketplace."
不过,这种情况可能很快就会发生变化。据报道,阿里巴巴正寻求进军美国电子商务市场,加大对美国公司的投资。(上市之前,阿里巴巴参与了美国乘车应用Lyft募集2.5亿美元资金的计划,并分别对美国的零售网站ShopRunner和移动信息应用Tango投资2亿美元和2.15亿美元。)预计阿里巴巴将推出电子商务网站11 Main,为“消费者和精选商家搭建一个时尚、专业的商业平台。”

It's far from certain that Alibaba will succeed in these endeavors. Chinese companies have faced significant challenges in the U.S. market; for example Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, raisedless money than it expected in its U.S. IPO. Other Chinese tech companies have delisted from the New York Stock Exchange because of lower-than-expected valuations.
目前还远远不能确定阿里巴巴能否在上述计划中取得成功。中国企业在美国市场上面临着巨大的挑战。例如,被誉为“中国版Twitter”的微博(Weibo)在美国上市时募集的资金就少于预期。由于估值低于预期,有些中国科技公司从纽约证券交易所(the New York Stock Exchange)退市。

One of the largest challenges for any Chinese business seeking to go public in the U.S. is managing concerns about transparency, said Rice University's Yan. How Alibaba manages those concerns and how other investors respond to the IPO could have a major impact on Chinese businesses in the U.S.

"It will be very important for other Chinese companies who are also considering U.S. IPOs," Yan said. "If Alibaba's IPO does well, it will encourage other Chinese companies, especially technology companies, to consider IPOs in the U.S. market."

And it could have a big impact on the broader IPO market, which appears to be slowing down.

"The IPO market hasn't been the best market recently," Sinha said. "The market has been volatile. Maybe the Alibaba IPO, priced correctly, paves the way for other companies to go public as well."

Whatever happens, Alibaba will leave a lasting impact on the market, Sinha said. "This is one of the most highly anticipated IPOs in a long time."

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