Alibaba takes charge of bankers

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Alibaba's desire to keep tight control over its $21.1bn share sale has left a vacuum at the helm of its banking syndicate, leading underwriters to take unusual steps to manage the offering, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Typically, initial public offerings have a 'lead left' bank that controls the process, sometimes as a first among equals in the syndicate. Facebook, for example, had Morgan Stanley in that role, while Twitter used Goldman Sachs for the job.

Alibaba, however, decided to do without one bank in charge of its IPO, and instead is seeking advice from all its major bookrunners.

The move gives Alibaba control of the process as no one bank has a complete picture of what is going on. It also helps avoid potential pitfalls of relying too much on one institution. Facebook's botched 2012 IPO was also one of the reasons for this choice, sources have previously said.

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