Ant Group, the financial affiliate of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, has filed an Initial Public Offering, or IPO, in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Created by Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, Ant Group is targeting a valuation of about $226 billion, based on a target IPO raise of nearly $30 billion, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg on Aug. 25.
As reported, the new IPO could become the largest deal in history, potentially overtaking the record set by Saudi Arabian multinational oil and gas giant, Saudi Aramco — which raised around $29.4B earlier this year. According to Bloomberg data, the target valuation would match the market capitalization of the United States’ banking giant Bank of America and would be more than twice the size of Citigroup.
According to Bloomberg, Ant Group’s Hong Kong offering would be led by major institutions like JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and China International Capital Corp. In Shanghai, the IPO will be led by major local investment banking firms like China International Capital Corporation and CSC Financial, the report notes. Ant Group reportedly said that it expects to raise 48 billion yuan, or about $7 billion, in Shanghai.
Ant Group is reportedly planning to use the IPO proceeds to expand cross-border payments as well as bolster its research and development capabilities.
A financial subsidiary of Alibaba, Ant Group has been closely tracking developments in the blockchain industry as well as building its own blockchain solutions since 2015. In July 2020, Ant Group launched a new blockchain solution that combined artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and a number of other nascent technologies. Earlier this year, Ant launched an enterprise-focused platform known as the “Ant Blockchain Open Alliance.”
According to the preliminary IPO filing seen by Bloomberg, Alipay’s total total transaction volume as of June 2020 had reached 118 trillion yuan, or about $17 trillion, over the previous 12 months. Ant’s Alipay had more than 1 billion users and 711 million monthly active users, the report said.