(Bloomberg) — Cainiao Network Technology Co., the logistics arm of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., is planning to file for its Hong Kong initial public offering as soon as next week, according to people familiar with the matter, potentially making it among the first of the Chinese tech firm’s units to go public.
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The company is targeting to raise at least $1 billion in the share sale though it’s still early to decide on the valuation, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. No final decision has been made and details could still change, the people said.
A representative for Cainiao declined to comment, while a representative for Alibaba referred Bloomberg News query back to Cainiao.
Shares of Alibaba extended gains in Hong Kong on Friday after the Bloomberg News report. The stock rose as much as 3.3% in its biggest intraday advance in almost three weeks.
An application could see Cainiao pull ahead of Alibaba’s other units on the path to separate listings, following the parent’s surprise announcement in March that it would split up the business. The logistics unit has been working with banks including Citic Securities Co., Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. on the IPO, Bloomberg News reported earlier this year. China International Capital Corp. dropped out given conflicts of interests as it’s serving as a joint sponsor of J&T Global Express Ltd., another logistics firm that is seeking Hong Kong listing approval next week, people familiar with the matter have said.
Separately, Alibaba is putting the Hong Kong IPO of its Freshippo grocery chain on the backburner amid weak sentiment for consumer stocks in China. The capital management committee of Alibaba, which is overseeing the breakup of the sprawling company, recently decided to wait for a more favorable market before moving forward with a Freshippo IPO and will prioritize the listings of other units, Bloomberg News reported earlier this month.
Alibaba co-founded Cainiao in 2013, serving as the delivery backbone for its then burgeoning Chinese online marketplaces. The Chinese tech giant took control of the business later. The unit followed Alibaba’s footsteps into the global e-commerce arena, handling parcels for millions of merchants and brands on platforms like AliExpress and Southeast Asia’s Lazada.
Cainiao, which means rookie or amateur in Chinese, promises to deliver packages in China within 24 hours and anywhere else in the world in 72 hours, according to its website. It operates over 300 international routes partnering with more than 3,000 logistics partners.
–With assistance from Zheping Huang.
(Adds Alibaba shares move in fourth paragraph and more about Cainiao in seventh paragraph.)
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