The long-anticipated IPO of Alibaba-affiliated Chinese fintech giant Ant Group could raise tens of billions of dollars in a dual-listing on both the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges.
Shares for the company formerly known as Ant Financial are expected to price at around HK$80, or roughly 68 to 69 Chinese Yuan. The company is selling around 134 million shares in the Hong Kong portion of its debut, worth around $17.25 billion American dollars at HK$80 apiece.
Given that the share sale is expected to raise a similar amount of money from its Shanghai listing, the company’s IPO could raise as much as $34.5 billion. That tally would make the debut the largest in history, besting the recent Aramco IPO that raised around $29.4 billion.
Ant Group’s huge IPO fits its own epic scale. As TechCrunch reported in July, Ant had around 1.3 billion annual active users in March of this year, a number that could have risen in recent quarters. Ant’s Alipay competes with Tencent’s WeChat Pay in the huge and lucrative Chinese market.
The Ant Group IPO could be viewed as a moment in which the United States stock markets showed weakness. When Alibaba went public back in 2014, it did so via the New York Stock Exchange. The Chinese tech giant later dual-listed on the Hong Kong exchange. To see Ant Group dual-list on the Hong Kong and Shanghai indices without a float in New York shows what is possible outside of the United States when it comes to capital financing.
Fintech startups have broadly seen their fortunes rise during 2020, as the global pandemic changed consumer behaviour and moved more commerce and payments into the digital realm. And IPOs have generally performed strongly as well, meaning that Ant Group could find a few tailwinds for its equity when it begins to trade.
Ant has not been content to stick to its knitting, keeping itself busy by investing in other startups. The company took a small stake in installment-payment service Klarna earlier this year, for example.
At a valuation of more than $310 billion, Ant Group would be worth about as much as JPMorgan Chase, the most valuable American bank today. It would also best U.S.-based digital payments leader PayPal, which is currently valued at $236 billion, as well as Square, which is valued at $77 billion.