This IPO Could Raise a Record $35B

Chinese fintech Ant Group giant hopes to top Saudi Aramco's sale last year
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 26, 2020 5:40 PM CDT
Ant Group's IPO Could Raise a Record $35B
The app for Alipay, the mobile payments service operated by Ant Group, on a smartphone in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

The world's largest fintech company, China's Ant Group, will try to raise nearly $35 billion in a huge public offering of stock that would shatter records. Alibaba-affiliated Ant Group, which operates a suite of financial products including the Alipay digital wallet in China and one of the world's largest money market funds, will hold listings in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Its Shanghai stock was priced at 68.8 yuan ($10.26) each, while its Hong Kong stock is priced at 80 Hong Kong dollars apiece ($10.32), according to filings Monday. The company will raise about $34.5 billion from the offering, which would surpass oil company Saudi Aramco’s $29 billion share sale last year, making Ant Group’s offering the biggest in the world. Ahead of the IPO, Ant Group would be valued at about $280 billion, the AP reports. If it exercises its greenshoe option, which would allow selling more shares than initially planned, it could raise another $5.17 billion, taking its valuation to about $320 billion.

Ant Group will list on the Hong Kong stock exchange Nov. 5, according to an exchange filing. A trading date for Shanghai has not been fixed. The company has its origins in Alipay, which was created to serve as an escrow service on Alibaba's e-commerce platform. Alipay would hold the money paid by the buyer until the transaction was complete, then release the funds to the sellers to boost trust in the platform among consumers. In 2011, Alipay was spun off from Alibaba. It was later renamed Ant Financial, then Ant Group. Over the years, Ant has introduced more financial services and now operates Alipay as a digital wallet that allows users in China to transfer money to others and pay for purchases both online and offline. Alibaba founder Jack Ma called the company's offering a "miracle," as it was the first time that such a big listing was priced outside of New York. "We didn't dare think about it five years, or even three years ago," he said. (Ma, who built Alipay, says he doesn't understand technology.)

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