Freed Alibaba shares may trade hands, a lot

On March 18, 429 million Alibaba shares, or 18% of the company, become eligible for institutional investors to trade for the first time.
Some 18% of Alibaba's outstanding shares will become unlocked on Wednesday
Some 18% of Alibaba's outstanding shares will become unlocked on Wednesday

Investors and traders are bracing for a potentially epic sell-off of Alibaba shares, with 429 million shares, or 18% of the company, eligible to hit the market on March 18. This marks the six-month expiry of lockups for select institutional investors from the company’s $25.03 billion jumbo initial public offering of September 18, 2014.

According to sources, a number of these investors are keen to sell and make a profit. Although it is unlikely they will all sell at once, the prospect is already weighing on the stock price.

Pre-IPO investors purchased shares at $68 per unit. Shares spiked to just under $100 a unit before closing...

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