Those who will control Alibaba, post-IPO

In a new regulatory filing, Alibaba, the Chinese online commerce company, disclosed Monday the 27 partners who will control the company after its public offering.

The partnership will nominate Alibaba’s nine board of directors, which includes Jerry Yang, Yahoo’s co-founder, and Jack Ma, Alibaba’s co-founder and executive chairman.

The New York Times said that the corporate governance structure is what prevented the firm from being able to go public on the Hong Kong exchange, which requires a one share per vote system.

There is nothing magical about “27,” in fact there is no set number of partners, the company said. Alibaba’s partnership “rejuvenates itself” with new members every year. The Wall Street Journal detailed the partner requirements:

To be eligible for election, partners must show high personal integrity, have worked for Alibaba or an affiliate for at least five years, have a track record of “contribution” and be a “culture carrier” — or someone who acts in accordance with Alibaba’s values. All partners are also required to have a “meaningful level of equity interests” in the company, the filing says, without specifying how much that is.

The company hasn’t disclosed yet on what stock exchange it will trade, its ticker symbol, the size of its offering and the per share price.

Recently, the firm opened an office in San Francisco and launched its U.S. e-commerce site, 11 Main. Forbes’ Ryan Mac writes that the site is similar to Square Market in that it is a platform for small businesses and eBay, because it doesn’t handle the merchandise itself.

Update: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated Jerry Yang’s role. He will be on Alibaba’s board, not part of the partnership. 

Above: Jack Ma, a founder of Alibaba and currently the firm’s executive chairman. (AFP PHOTO/Peter PARKS)



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