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What you need to know about Alibaba's IPO - Fortune Tech

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Analysts generally expect Alibaba to raise at least $15 billion in its offering. (To compare, Facebook raised $16 billion in its 2012 IPO.) Kirjner estimates the possible valuation of Alibaba to be as high as $245 billion, which would make it the ninth-largest U.S.-listed company on the S&P 500, just behind Wal-Mart (WMT). (Alibaba did not respond to a Fortune inquiry regarding the company's IPO.)

What is less clear is how Yahoo fares in the wake of the offering. Investor outlook has been mixed for the company: Some see it turning around under chief executive Marissa Mayer; others see its Alibaba investment as a crutch the company will be without once it goes public, potentially dissuading some Yahoo investors from sticking with the (lower-growth) company.

"If you wanted to own Alibaba you invested in Yahoo. Now you can own Alibaba directly," B. Riley analyst Sameet Sinha told Fortune.

At $245 billion, Alibaba is bigger than Amazon and Facebook but smaller than Microsoft and Google.

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