Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd
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The program, informally known as a "friends and family" plan, allows employees and people buy shares at the IPO price before it starts trading publicly. Normally, the IPO price is available only to professional investors and a few individual investors.
Such programs were a popular practice by U.S. companies during the 1999-2000 dot.com boom as a way to reward employees but has declined since then, the newspaper said. (http://on.wsj.com/1u6O1jz)
Alibaba is nearing the launch of its hotly anticipated offering, which could raise more than $20 billion, making it the biggest technology listing in the United States.