Alibaba’s Ant plans Hong Kong IPO

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Ant Group, the fintech arm of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, is planning on a Hong Kong float as soon as this year, according to Reuters.

Ant is targeting a valuation of more than $200 billion, according to two Reuters sources with knowledge of the matter.

Ant logo

Ant is targeting a valuation of more than $200 billion.

The paytech was looking to sell shares in Hong Kong and mainland China simultaneously but is leaning heavily towards the Asian financial hub first because it would probably face a smoother listing process, note the sources.

“It is looking at selling between 5% and 10% of its shares in an initial public offering (IPO),” says one of the sources, in what would be one of the world’s biggest listings this year.

The company has been working with its advisers on the planned float in recent months, according to the sources, who cautioned that details have yet to be finalised and are subject to change.

In response, Ant said the information about its IPO plans was incorrect. Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The sources sought anonymity as the information was private.

Ant, based in China’s eastern city of Hangzhou, is 33% owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd  and is controlled by Alibaba founder, Jack Ma.

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Although valued at about $150 billion in its last funding round in 2018, small trades in the secondary market late last year gave it an implied valuation of $200 billion.

Ant is China’s dominant mobile payments company, offering loans, payments, insurance and asset management services via mobile apps.

However, recent years have seen it emphasise its technology prowess amid increased regulatory scrutiny of financial risk.

The company wants to be referred to in English as “Ant Group Co,” its spokeswoman says. It won regulatory approval in May to change its legal name in Chinese to Ant Technology Group Co.

Ant generated revenue of about CNY 120 billion ($17.10 billion) last year and almost CNY 17 billion in net profit, according to financial documents seen by Reuters. Ant said the information was incorrect.

In November, Alibaba itself raised $12.9 billion in a secondary listing.

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