Alibaba Group Holding Limited, a Chinese multinational holding conglomerate that specialises in e-commerce, retail, Internet, AI, and technology, is planning to list its shares on Hong Kong's stock market.
A successful Hong Kong share sale could also help finance a costly war of subsidies with Meituan Dianping in food delivery and travel, and divert investor cash from rivals like Meituan and WeChat-operator Tencent Holdings Ltd.
However, it is lower than the US$20 billion it had aimed to raise initially. That would be the largest IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange in nearly ten years.
Companies so far this year have sold shares worth $429bn via IPOs and follow-on sales - running far short of the $604 bn they sold in the whole of 2018, according to data from Refinitiv.
Alibaba's decision in 2013 to drop plans for a primary listing in Hong Kong, and turn instead to NY, triggered passionate debate among bankers and officials, and resulted in rule changes that paved the way for this deal.
Demonstrations are expected to escalate over the weekend as the death of a student inflames rioters who are calling for "flash-mob"-style rallies".
The company on Monday will wrap up its most important sales event of the year - Singles' Day - offering further clues on the health of consumption.
Alibaba has appointed China International Capital Corp (CICC) and Credit Suisse to work on the deal and is likely to hire several more investment banks as early as next week to push ahead with a listing.
Alibaba's sales previous year reached $30bn on the day, which was more than three times as large as Cyber Monday, the equivalent shopping day in the US.
Alibaba last week reported second-quarter revenue increased by 40 percent, to 119.02 billion yuan ($17bn) in the second quarter from 85.15 billion yuan ($12bn) the previous year.
The will-they-or-won't-they story of Alibaba's much-touted Hong Kong IPO is heading into the home stretch, as a source close to the company told Caixin on Friday the company will go for a listing hearing with the Hong Kong stock exchange next week. Major investment banks led by Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are now jockeying for the most senior positions behind those two.