Demand for shares in the Alibaba Group, a Chinese e-commerce giant, was long expected to be strong. But the orders have come in so quickly that the company’s banks expect to close their order books early.
Underwriters for Alibaba told their sales staffs Friday that they would close all orders for the initial public offering by next Wednesday afternoon, people briefed on the matter said. And the advisers hinted that they might eventually raise the price range for the stock sale, pushing it past a fundraising goal of $21.1 billion.
The banks said they would stop accepting orders from U.S. investors by Tuesday.
But investors who have not met with the company’s executives — either in one-on-one gatherings or in small group sessions — by their region’s deadlines will have extra time to file their purchase orders.
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The underwriters said they had received orders with “no sensitivity” to the price range of $60 to $66 a share, suggesting that demand has been so strong that the banks might feel comfortable increasing the price range of what was already expected to be one of the biggest initial stock sales of all time.
The development was reported earlier by Bloomberg News. A spokesman for Alibaba declined to comment.
Excitement among potential investors has been evident for months but became even more readily apparent when the company kicked off its global roadshow Monday. More than 800 money managers lined up at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City for a lunchtime presentation hosted by Alibaba’s executive chairman and co-founder, Jack Ma, with some individuals being turned away for lack of space.
Other meetings across the United States have been similarly packed.