Alibaba leads major ShopRunner investment as IPO looms -source


SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd has led an investment round of about $200 million infledgling U.S. retail website ShopRunner Inc, a source withknowledge of the deal said, making one of its largest as it prepares to go public.

The source did not say how much of a stake the Chinesee-commerce giant owns of ShopRunner, the 3-year-old retailstartup backed by eBay Inc and run by former Yahoo Inc Chief Executive Scott Thompson, or how much Alibabapaid.

The source is not authorized to speak publicly about thematter and requested anonymity.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Thursday thateBay sold its 30 percent stake to Alibaba and the otherunspecified investors in that latest round, which valuedShopRunner at about $600 million.

Alibaba, of which Yahoo owns 24 percent, declined to commenton the investment.

"The U.S. market in the long run is very interesting to us,"the Journal cited Joe Tsai, Alibaba's executive vice chairmanand co-founder, as saying in an interview.

"Coming into this market is about learning about Americanconsumers and how the market operates."

The Chinese company founded by Jack Ma is preparing to floatshares in an initial public offering that could rival FacebookInc's $16 billion debut in 2012. CEO Jonathan Lu toldReuters the company has decided to forego listing in Hong Kong,though it has not committed to debuting on any other stockexchange.

ShopRunner was founded in 2010 and offers free two-dayshipping of goods by major brands from Calvin Klein to GNC. Ithopes to tackle larger rival Inc withfeatures such as free shipping on returns and unlimited two-dayshipping.

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