HONG KONG: Chinese financial technology giant Ant Group has set terms for a dual listing aimed at raising up to $34.4 billion from the world’s largest stock market debut, with investors scrambling for a piece of the fast-growing company.
The deal would value Ant at more than $313 billion before a so-called greenshoe option for a 15 percent overallotment of shares. At that valuation, Ant is worth more than Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s biggest bank by assets.
The looming market debut, however, is clouded by concerns over growing regulatory scrutiny of Ant’s lucrative consumer credit business as well as a US State Department proposal to add the fintech group to a trade blacklist.
Global investors, however, have largely shrugged off those concerns as they bet on continued rapid growth of a group that also operates China’s biggest mobile payments platform and distributes wealth management and insurance products.
It has earmarked 80 percent of its domestic offering to 29 strategic investors that will be locked up for at least one year and will also include a wholly owned unit of technology giant Alibaba and China’s National Council for Social Security Fund.
While the Alibaba unit has agreed to purchase 44 percent of the Shanghai float, large Chinese insurers and mutual funds will also have shares allocated via the strategic investor route, Monday’s filing showed.
Referring to Ant’s float as a “miracle,” the billionaire founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, on Saturday told a conference in Shanghai that it is the first time the pricing for such a big listing has been determined outside New York.
Headquartered in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, Ant is aiming to raise about $17.2 billion in Shanghai and roughly the same in Hong Kong, Ant said in filings to the two exchanges late on Monday.