Alibaba's Ant Group files for blockbuster Hong Kong, Shanghai dual listing


By Julie Zhu

HONG KONG, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Ant Group, Alibaba's fintech arm and China's dominant mobile payments firm, filed on Tuesday for a dual listing in Hong Kong and on Shanghai's Nasdaq-style STAR Market which could raise as much as $30 billion and become the world's largest IPO ever.

Ant's initial public offering would be the first simultaneous listing in Hong Kong and the year-old STAR Market, boosting Hong Kong's status as an international IPO market and helping enhance STAR as a capital markets centre.

Ant, already the world's most valuable unicorn - or billion-dollar unlisted tech firm - did not disclose the size, timetable or other key details of the offering in its preliminary prospectus.

Ant declined to comment on its IPO details.

People with knowledge of the matter have previously said Ant plans to raise more than $20 billion from the dual-listing which could take place in October, valuing the group at over $200 billion.

The offering size could even reach $30 billion if market conditions allow, said three of the people this week.

That would make it the world's biggest IPO since oil giant Saudi Aramco 2222.SE raised $29.4 billion last December, which surpassed the record set by China's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's BABA.N, 9988.HK $25 billion float in 2014.

Ant looks to sell between 10% and 15% of its shares, one of the sources said, requesting anonymity as the details were not yet public.

Ant said in its filing with the Shanghai bourse that it plans to sell no less than 10% of its enlarged share capital in the dual-listing.

The company was valued at about $150 billion in its last funding round in 2018, which brought in big-name investors such as Temasek Holdings Ltd TEM.UL and Warburg Pincus LLC WP.UL.

Ant's prospectus gave investors the first look at the firm's financial health ahead of the mega IPO.

The company said revenue was 72.5 billion yuan ($10.5 billion) in the first half of the year, up nearly 40% compared to the same period in 2019. Profit rose nearly 12 times to 21.9 billion yuan in the same period.

The numbers underscore how Ant, 33%-owned by Alibaba and controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, has remained resilient even as the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled many businesses.

(Reporting by Julie Zhu; editing by Christopher Cushing, Jason Neely, Susan Fenton)

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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