“Open Sesame”-Alibaba’s historic opening day
Only two hours into trading on its first day on the market, and the e-commerce giant Alibaba has lived up to all the hype.
This morning in New York, live-blogs scrambled and the media stood by when, at 12:00 noon, shares still hadn’t begun trading. Bloomberg Businessweek quoted NYSE Group president Tom Farley saying “the auction could take two to three hours to settle on a price before trading begins.” Extra precautions were taken before such a huge stock went public, including an “extra-long auction process this morning to settle on a price… making sure the exchange’s electronic matching engine is ready to handle the demand.”
At 11:54 am EDT, it opened, with the first share trading at $92.70, well above the IPO price of $68. At 12:04 pm, Forbes announced on their liveblog that 100 million shares of Alibaba had been traded in the first 10 minutes. With a market cap now around $228 billion, Alibaba has shot past Facebook. Forbes Media included this Market Cap chart to help break things down:
Early this morning, NYSE tweeted a picture of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, with the Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO on the trade floor.
— NYSE (@NYSE) September 19, 2014
However, when it came time to ring the opening bell, Jack Ma watched from below, instead electing for a group of Alibaba customers to mark the historic moment, echoing his sentiments that “Customers must come first.”
— Alibaba Group (@AlibabaGroup) September 19, 2014
At the day’s end, The New York Times reported that the company with the largest ever U.S. listed IPO, “closed the day at $93.89 share on the New York Stock Exchange, up 38 percent from its initial public offering price in a strong trading debut.”
You gotta love Jack Ma’s face right before trading opened: