By Adedapo Adesanya
Ant Group owned by a Chinese billionaire, Mr Jack Ma, is set to raise about $34.5 billion through initial public offerings (IPO) in Shanghai and Hong Kong, a deal which will make it the biggest IPO ever.
The IPO will also make it one of the most valuable finance firms on the planet, and it will surpass Saudi Aramco’s $29 billion sale last year.
The fintech giant will have $315 billion in market value, the same valuation as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and four times larger than Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
According to reports, the IPO is attracting interest from some of the world’s biggest money managers, and sparking a frenzy among individual investors in China who all want a piece of the sale.
In the preliminary price consultation of its Shanghai IPO, institutional investors subscribed for over 76 billion shares, or over 284 times of the initial offline offering tranche, according to Ant’s Shanghai offering announcement.
“This was the first time such a big listing, the largest in human history. We wouldn’t have dared to think about it five years, or even three years ago,” Mr Ma said of the deal.
Ant, an online payments business, is only selling about 11 per cent of its shares. The financial tech firm is expected to begin trading in Hong Kong on November 5, according to the filing.
It’s not yet known when shares will begin trading in Shanghai but have been put at 68.8 yuan ($10.27) apiece and its Hong Kong shares at HK$80 ($10.32) each, the company may raise another $5.17 billion if it exercises its greenshoe options, which is an over-allotment option.
Mr Ma’s Ant shares are reportedly worth about $17 billion, taking his net worth to close to $80 billion and confirming him as China’s richest man.
Ant runs Alipay, the dominant online payment system in China, where cash, cheques and credit cards have long been eclipsed by e-payment devices and apps.
China International Capital Corp. and CSC Financial will underwrite Ant’s Shanghai listing. CICC, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan will lead the Hong Kong IPO.
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