Ant Group formally launched the process of concurrent initial public offerings in Hong Kong and Shanghai in what could become the world’s biggest new listing this year, the financial affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding said on Monday, reported Caixin.
Ant, whose crown jewel is the Alipay electronic payment service, has been the subject of intense speculation for years about its plans for an initial public offering (IPO). Last year it completed a restructuring in which Alibaba became a 33% stakeholderin a long-delayed deal that also relieved Ant of a major related financial obligation. That cleared the way for the current listing plan.
Ant plans to list shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and on Shanghai’s year-old Nasdaq-style STAR Market, the company said without providing more specifics. Reuters reported last week that Ant aims to achieve a valuation of more than $200 billion, citing two sources familiar with the deal. On such a basis, a customary sale of 5% to 10% of the company would translate to raising between $10 billion and $20 billion.
“The innovative measures implemented by Shanghai Stock Exchange STAR Market and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange have opened the doors for global investors to access leading-edge technology companies from the most dynamic economies in the world and for those companies to have greater access to the capital markets,” said Eric Jing, Ant’s executive chairman. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to play a part in this development.”