China’s Ant inches towards US$35 bil IPO with registration

SHANGHAI: China’s Ant Group submitted documents to the securities regulator for registration of the Shanghai portion of its IPO, the city’s bourse said late on Tuesday, moving a step closer to a planned dual-listing expected to be worth about US$35 billion.

The financial technology firm, backed by China’s biggest e-commerce company Alibaba Group, plans to list simultaneously on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR Market and in Hong Kong, in what sources have said could be the world’s largest IPO and come as soon as October.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange approved the listing plan last week.

The company is seeking to raise about US$35 billion in the IPO after assessing early investor interest and based on a higher valuation of about US$250 billion or more, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Ant declined to comment.

Separately, five Chinese asset managers said in their respective statements they would start raising up to US$8.83 billion combined from Friday for mutual funds that would participate in Ant’s IPO as strategic investors.

The fundraising period is two weeks, and each fund, with a lock-in period of 18 months, aims to raise up to US$1.7 billion.

The money managers behind the funds are China Asset Management Co (ChinaAMC), E Fund Management Co, Penghua Fund Management Co, China Universal Asset Management Co and Zhong Ou Asset Management Co.

Ant said in its updated prospectus released late on Tuesday that several existing mutual fund products will also participate in its IPO share placement as strategic investors.