Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba’s financial arm, Ant Financial Services Group, is reportedly looking forward to hold an initial public offering in Hong Kong next year. The company hasn’t sketched out an exact timeline, but is eyeing the first half of 2017 as a tentative period for the same. It aims to add a sum total of atleast $10 billion to its coffers, report sources aware of the matter.
According to a report from local sources, Ant Financial is already in talks with the same investment banks which were responsible for the successful completion of their parent Alibaba’s listing affairs in the United States. This includes the likes of Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and some other unnamed Chinese banks as well. Commenting further, the source said,
The first half of next year is still listed as the goal, but in the end may be extended to the second half.
Ever since the bombastic IPO of the parent company Alibaba, founder and CEO Jack Ma has been very vocal about his company’s ambitions. Last month, he confirmed that the company has long been mulling over the decision of going public with its financial arm someday. It’s just that the management board hasn’t sat down and talked about the specifics of the plan as of yet.
An Ant Financial spokesperson denied the authencity of the report saying that the company is yet to decide where it will launch the IPO and finally list.
For those unaware, Ant Financial Services is the owner(and creator) of one of the largest digital payment services company known as Alipay. It currently has a staggering 500 million strong userbase and sweeps over about a 68 per cent market share of the Chinese market. One could easily refer it to a much stronger and powerful version of India’s largest wallet service Paytm, in which the former has vested interests.
But, ever since the introduction of rival services including Apple Pay, the company has been facing stiff competition to maintain its majority stance in the country. Thus, in a bid to fend-off rivals, Ant Financial has recently managed to bag a monstrous $4.5 billion in its series B round of funding. The round led by marquee existing investors, which bumped up the valuation of the company to an unmatched $45 billion.
And at the note of public offerings, how can we miss out on talking about Alibaba’s record breaking IPO. The company had brought its public offering to New York due to some hiccups in the regulatory procedures — which rejected the company’s dual-class shareholder structure in Hong Kong. But, it only helped the company as received phenomenal response from investors who took the value of the deal to $25 billion. Thus, it now holds the record for the largest IPO ever in the U.S history.
Ant Financial, the subsidiary which was setup in 2015, after the successful listing of the company on the NYSE. It is not expected to run into similar hurdles in Hong Kong, but will require approval from Chinese regulators to seek foreign investment via a public offering.