Ant Group takes the stage in world’s biggest IPO

Marco Green
October 27, 2020

Ant Group said it was setting a target price of around 68.8 yuan (£7.87) per share for Shanghai and HK$80 (£7.93) per share in Hong Kong. Sources told CNBC that the listing could be worth as much as $35 billion, exceeding Saudi Aramco's listing worth $29.4 billion in December 2019, the biggest in the world yet.

The company will raise about $34.5 billion from the share offering, which could surpass oil company Saudi Aramco's $29 billion share sale past year.

The comment comes as Ma's fintech firm, Ant Group, gears up for a monster IPO in China, with a reported valuation of $200 billion that could catapult it past the world's most established banks, like Goldman Sachs.

The record-shattering IPO comes as the administration of US President Donald Trump tries to smother Chinese technology companies, whose ascent is seen by Washington as a threat to American security, prestige and supremacy in the digital age.

Ant Group is an affiliate fintech firm of Alibaba and serves in part as the parent to Alipay, an ubiquitous payment processor among Chinese citizens, not unlike PayPal in the US.

"This is the first major IPO of this scale that is not being listed in US or London, but in Asia", Sweeney Lachman, Head of Research at Longlead Capital Partners said today.

The group also offers other financial services, including online investing. Ant Group has said the USA targeting Chinese software like WeChat and TikTok for sanctions, may negatively affect its business.

Headquartered in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, Ant is aiming to raise about $17.2 billion (roughly Rs. 1,26,940 crores) in Shanghai and roughly the same in Hong Kong. Its money market fund Yu'e Bao is also among the world's largest. The city has seen over 200 billion Hong Kong dollars ($25.8 billion) of inflows since Ant filed its IPO application on August 25, forcing the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to intervene multiple times to keep the local currency inside its trading band with the USA dollar.

"It was like the flood gates just opened", said one of the persons with knowledge of the situation.

The company plans to issue up to 1.67 billion shares in both Hong Kong and Shanghai, taking the total number of shares issued to about 3.4 billion.

Unlike Alibaba's IPO in 2014, Ant Group is passing over Western stock markets at a time of U.S.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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