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China’s Ant Financial raises $10 billion at $150 billion valuation

China's Ant Financial raises $10 billion at $150 billion valuation

Ant financial Services Group, China’s operator of biggest online payment platform by market share, Alipay, has raised $10 billion in funding from local and international investors, according to five people familiar with the matter.

Ant’s first fundraising focused at global investors has brought the firm’s valuation to a staggering $150 billion, the people revealed.

The fundraising round was joined by a number of global sovereign wealth funds and private equity firms as main investors which included U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC [WP.UL], Singapore’s sovereign fund GIC Pte Ltd [GIC.UL] and state investor Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd [TEM.UL], said the people.

The people also disclosed that Malaysia’s sovereign fund Khazanah National Bhd [KHAZA.UL] also participated as a major investor.

Private equity firm Carlyle Group LP and equity firm Sequoia Capital which usually invest in early startups, also took part in the funding round.

The fundraising also includes a separate tranche of $1.1 billion in new shares however it is not finalized yet, said two of the people.

Ant and the investors have not released any statements regarding the investment yet.

The surge in Ant’s valuation comes when an Initial Public Offering (IPO) is widely expected. At a valuation as big as $150 billion, Ant’s IPO might be the biggest IPO ever.

A fundraising document obtained by Reuters revealed that Ant aimed to list in China as well as in Hong Kong in 2019 and the latest investors could expect to exit within one or three years.

The initial target for the fundraising was $5 billion however with the much expected IPO, investors tried to position themselves and the investment rose to $10 billion.

Besides owning Alipay, the four-year-old Ant has diversified its business to credit cards, online banking and asset management.

After becoming a dominant player in online payment in China, Ant invested in a number of internet-based startups including the Chinese food delivery app operator Ele.me, Chinese bike-sharing company Ofo and Indian payment company PayTM.

Also Read: Alibaba beats Wall Street predictions with 61% growth in Q4

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