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SoftBank CEO says nothing decided on possible Alibaba IPO

Softbank Corp President Masayoshi Son speaks during a news conference in Tokyo July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Softbank Corp President Masayoshi Son speaks during a news conference in Tokyo July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - Softbank Corp CEO Masayoshi Son said on Tuesday no decision had been made regarding a possible initial public offering for Alibaba, China's and the world's largest Internet retailer which is 36.7 percent owned by the Japanese mobile carrier.

"There is no firm plan for an Alibaba IPO and I will refrain from commenting," Son told a briefing on SoftBank's quarterly earnings. He had been asked about the impact on SoftBank of a planned Alibaba IPO in Hong Kong.

Alibaba has not given a timetable for an IPO, although an offering is widely anticipated with speculation that it could come as early as this year and value the company at up to $100 billion.

Investors see an Alibaba IPO potentially bolstering the ambitious Son's financial leeway to pursue further overseas acquisitions after SoftBank closed a $21.6 billion deal this month to buy U.S. mobile carrier Sprint Corp.

(This story was fixed to correct in paragraph 3 to say IPO would value the company at $100 billion, not raise $100 billion)

(Reporting by Mari Saito; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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