Ant Financial raises $18.4bn to bolster global push

Ant Financial raises $18.4bn to bolster global push

Fri, 08/06/2018 - 11:38
Ant Financial

Ant Financial is expected to launch an IPO later this year, but there is no timetable in place. Photo: Ant Financial

Alipay owner Ant Financial Services Group has raised around $US14 billion ($18.4 billion) from investors including Singapore's sovereign fund and U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

The capital-raising should boost the firm's financial firepower ahead of a widely expected initial public offering, though Ant has neither publicly set a timetable nor chosen a likely stock exchange.

In a statement, Ant listed Singaporean sovereign fund GIC and state investor Temasek Holdings as participants in the financing round.

Ant did not release details of the firm's valuation following the round, but Reuters reported earlier that it was expected to be valued at around $US150 billion, making it one of the most valuable financial companies in the world.

The funding includes both US dollar and Chinese yuan tranches, with the dollar share widely expected to make up the majority.

Participants in the Chinese yuan tranche were mainly comprised of existing shareholders, while US dollar participants alongside Warburg Pincus, GIC and Temasek included Discovery Capital Managmeent, General Atlantic, and Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

Ant said the funds would be used to speed up globalisation plans for its Alipay payment platform and to invest in developing technology.

"Now, with the help of our partners, we are going to accelerate our strategy," Ant chief executive Eric Jing said in a statement.

“We are dedicated to building an open ecosystem with all our partners in China and beyond.

We will continue to invest in technology and innovation in order to serve unmet financial needs of people everywhere and to enable them to benefit from the development of the digital economy.” 

Ant Financial was advised by Deutsche Bank, China Internatioanl Capital Corporation, CITIC Securities, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley, while legal advice was provided by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and King & wood Mallesons. 

Ant, spun off from Alibaba Group before the e-commerce firm's 2014 public listing, provides a range of financial services including payment and credit services, wealth management products and micro-loans.

The company has expanded its overseas services aggressively ahead of the expected IPO, with targeted efforts in India and Southeast Asia.

The firm has since begun to shift efforts away from consumer finance to focus on technology services amid increased scrutiny of financial risk by Chinese regulators.