Greg Puff Quoted on Alibaba’s New York IPO

Akin Gump Asia practice head and Hong Kong partner in charge Greg Puff was quoted by the International Bar Association for the article “Alibaba snubs Hong Kong in favour of New York listing” on the Chinese online wholesaler’s choice of New York for its IPO.

The article reports that Alibaba’s decision may have to do with Hong Kong’s reluctance to allow a corporate structure that gives the company’s management shareholder rights different from those of public shareholders.  Puff noted that the Hong Kong exchange may have to change its listing rules to remain competitive with the world’s leading capital markets.  He added, “I’m sure the HKSE is disappointed about the decision to take the listing to the U.S., but the exchange is strong and has many candidates for listing. I don’t see any lasting damage to the HKSE from this, although I’m sure it will continue to closely examine whether any of its listing rules should be modified to modernize its listing regime.”

Regarding a recent reversal of Chinese companies’ trend to delist themselves from the U.S. capital markets in a series of “go-private” transactions, Puff said that the current group of Chinese companies in the United States to raise capital will not be deterred by the prevailing trend: “Many companies being taken private had been in the U.S. for some time or had listed there when there were a large number of similar companies listing. They also had experience in raising additional capital and finally were affected by overall market sentiment regarding Chinese companies. On the other hand, companies such as Alibaba are listing at a different time when sentiment might have changed.”