I’m in a deli outside of Columbia University right now, killing a bit of time before lecturing a room of 400 students on entrepreneurship. This should be fun / weird. I was going to say a few things about today’s Alibaba IPO here but then I thought, “What’s left to say that anyone hasn’t already said?”
The truth is, today is a historic moment. It’s one of the largest IPOs in history – you’ve seen all the stats and superlatives I’m sure. But we won’t know just what it all means for weeks, months or years to come. The significance of this day will not be fully realized anytime soon – like most major market events. Sure, we can speculate.
I spoke with a very senior floor guy the other night who told me that, above all else, Alibaba wanted their open to be identical to what happened with the Twitter IPO last fall. They selected Barclays as the specialist firm and they even went so far as to tell Barclays that they had to have the exact same man running the book. It was that guy or forget about it. The man who ran the Twitter offering will also be opening BABA today – the world finally has its first Rock Star Specialist.
I don’t want to infer that the Chinese are superstitious at all…
Anyway, I’ll be down there on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on this historic day around noon, letting you know what I see and hear. Most of it will be market trivia-worthy stuff and not terribly important. But if you find this stuff fascinating, as I do, then tune in.
Days like these are rare, and the people who cover the market will be suitably dialed up. One thing you need to keep in mind about the financial media is this: The general public doesn’t pay attention to financial news unless they’re either losing their asses or making a fortune. It’s like CNN or the Weather Channel – if there’s no war or no hurricane, who cares? So monster IPOs and market crashes are a big deal.
The hype around this deal is rain in the desert for the media machine, which has had limited stock market participation and low volatility to contend with for most of the last few years. In other words, don’t be mad at the amplification today. Let ’em have it.
See ya later.