Alibaba gives more detail on finances, structure in new pre-IPO filing

Alibaba said that its revenue for the year ended March 31 rose 52% to $8.45 billion.

Ahead of what is expected to be a blockbuster initial public offering this year, Chinese Internet giant Alibaba Group Holding has filed an updated prospectus containing new details of its finances and partnership structure. 

In the amended filing Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Alibaba said that its total revenue for the fiscal year ended March 31 rose 52% to $8.45 billion. Profit, meanwhile, soared 171% to $3.76 billion.

Alibaba -- known as an e-commerce behemoth that also has interests in banking, maps, cloud computing, music, and TV and film production -- had 255 million active buyers as of March 31.

The Hangzhou company said in its original prospectus last month that it was raising $1 billion, but that number is a place holder and could rise -- to possibly more than Facebook's $16-billion IPO -- depending on investor demand.

Alibaba, bigger than Amazon and EBay combined, also provided details about its unique partnership structure. The partnership currently has 27 members, 22 of whom are members of its management team. Among them: founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma and Chief Executive Jonathan Zhaoxi Lu. 

Alibaba's partnership has the right to nominate a simple majority of the company's nine-member board of directors. The provision was one of the main reasons Alibaba opted to go public in the U.S. and not in Hong Kong.

The company said the number of partners in Alibaba Partnership is not fixed and may change from time to time. It said all partnership votes are made on a one-partner-one-vote basis.

The filing didn't specify how many shares Alibaba would sell, whether it would list on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange, its ticker symbol or say when it would go public. IPO experts predict the company will go public in the late summer or fall and expect it to be the largest IPO of the year.

Founded in 1999, Alibaba operates Taobao, Alibaba's biggest website and China's largest consumer-to-consumer online shopping platform, and Tmall, China's largest third-party platform for brands and retailers. 

The company was founded by a group of 18 people, led by Ma, a former English teacher from Hangzhou, a city near Shanghai.

Japan's SoftBank has a 34% share; Yahoo was an early investor and still owns about a quarter of the company. 

Alibaba said in Monday's filing that SoftBank and Yahoo would agree to vote their shares in favor of the Alibaba Partnership director nominees at each annual general shareholders meeting. 

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