FinTech: Ant Group Gets China’s Go-Ahead For Mammoth IPO in Hong Kong
The Chinese fintech giant will list concurrently on Shangai and Hong Kong exchanges.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission has cleared the Ant Group’s listing in Hong Kong of what may be the world’s largest-ever initial public offering (IPO). Ant can now go ahead and request a listing hearing with the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd said Reuters.
According to Reuters, which quoted people familiar with the matter, the listing hearing might take place on Monday itself.
The Ant Group is 33% owned by Ali Baba (NYSE: BABA) and controlled by billionaire Jack Ma.
For the other leg of the concurrent listing in Shanghai, Ant is still awaiting clearance from the securities regulator. However, the Shangai exchange has already approved the listing on its tech-focused STAR board, according to Bloomberg.
Refinitiv publication IFR, which first reported this news, said the CSRC will likely approve the Shanghai IPO this week.
According to one estimate, Ant could raise almost $ 35 billion from the IPO, and surpass Saudi Aramco’s $ 29.4 billion IPO last year.
Initially, analysts estimated that Ant could be valued in the IPO at between $ 230 billion and $ 250 billion.
However, a Bloomberg report on Friday suggested Ant was targeting a minimum valuation of $ 280 billion.
IPO a shot in the arm for Hong Kong
“The CSRC approval of Ant’s IPO in Hong Kong indicates Beijing’s commitment to keeping the city’s role as an international fundraising hub for Chinese companies,” says Clement Chan, managing director of accounting firm BDO. The firm has been instrumental in getting a huge number of firms from the mainland to list in Hong Kong, according to SCMP.
“So far, Hong Kong remains the only Chinese city that has a free flow of capital,” Chan said to SCMP. “International investors can feel free to invest in the city on Ant and other mega mainland IPOs.”
Ant Group size
Over the past year, Ant has counted more than 1 billion active users, and handled about $ 16 trillion in payments, according to The Economist.
That’s nearly 25 times more than PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) the biggest online payment platform outside of China.
Joint book-runners for the Hong Kong sale include Barclays, ICBC International, and BOC International. China International Capital Corp, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Morgan Stanley will serve as sponsors, and Credit Suisse Group AG will act as joint global coordinator.
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