Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Alibaba's global e-commerce unit weighs IPO

Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Alibaba Group's global digital commerce unit is exploring a U.S. public listing, Bloomberg reports, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: After announcing it would split into six businesses, the individual units are now planning a life on their own, unlocking more value for shareholders.

Yes, but: "Currently, there is no IPO plan," says Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group in an email to Axios.

  • A source familiar with the situation did previously tell Axios that the businesses are free to raise capital or go public, as has been reported, or to seek partners or stand pat.

Details: The process is in the early stages, the size of the IPO has yet to be determined, and the situation could change, Bloomberg cautioned.

  • The global e-commerce group is in talks with investment banks for an offering that could take place in a year.
  • The group, consisting of Alibaba's ex-China operations, includes Lazada, AliExpress, Trendyol and Daraz — which provide commerce infrastructure and market insights to brands — and B2B unit

By the numbers: Analysts have valued the operations between $29 billion and $39 billion, per Bloomberg.

  • They make up 7.2% of Alibaba Group's overall revenue, or $9.5 billion.

Of note: Taobao Tmall Commerce Group is separate from the global operations and is a wholly owned unit of Alibaba Group.

Catch up fast: The global public markets are showing signs of life, with Alibaba's grocery chain Freshippo reportedly preparing for a Hong Kong offering.

The big picture: As Axios previously reported, companies in retail and retail tech — such as Rokt, Lovevery and Hungryroot — are preparing to go public or be IPO ready when the markets reopen.

  • That may be at the end of this year or early 2024.
Go deeper