Alibaba’s grocery unit IPO put on ice amid disappointing valuation

China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) has postponed the potential initial public offering (IPO) of its Freshippo grocery chain in Hong Kong due to the prevailing weak sentiment in the consumer stocks market, according to sources cited by Bloomberg News on Friday.

As per the report, the Chinese technology conglomerate has determined that it is probable to reach a valuation of approximately $4 billion for Freshippo, which falls short of its earlier target of $6 billion to $10 billion during the consideration of a private funding round last year.

Alibaba said in May that Freshippo’s IPO would be completed in six to 12 months and that it was also considering listing its logistic unit, Cainiao.

Alibaba’s capital management committee, overseeing the company’s breakup, recently decided to wait for a more favorable market before moving forward with a Freshippo IPO and will prioritize listings of other units, the report added.

Alibaba did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

In a major restructuring revealed in March, Alibaba disclosed its intention to divide into six distinct units and explore fundraising and potential listings for most of them. This decision coincided with China’s relaxation of its regulatory crackdown on local technology companies.

In a report last year, Reuters stated that Freshippo was looking to raise funds at a roughly $6 billion valuation, significantly below its initial aspiration of achieving a valuation of up to $10 billion.

Freshippo is a Chinese supermarket chain that provides additional services such as in-store dining and 30-minute home delivery. Established in 2016, the company operated 273 stores as of March 2022, as indicated on its website.

U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba were flat in early trading.