Ant Group, the online payments division arm of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s eCommerce superstore, plans to file an initial public offering (IPO) on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR Market and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company announced Monday (July 20).
The company said the dual China listings support its aim to speed digitization of the nation’s service industry and drive domestic demand, and will position the company to develop global markets with partners and expand investment in technology and innovation.
“Becoming a public company will enhance transparency to our stakeholders, including customers, business partners, employees, shareholders and regulators,” Ant Group Executive Chairman Eric Jing said in the announcement. “Through our commitment to serving the under-served, we make it possible for the whole of society to share our growth.”
The Wall Street Journal reported the combined offering could be one of the largest in history.
Two years ago, Ant Group was valued at $150 billion in a fundraising round that raised $14 billion from domestic and international investors, the newspaper reported.
Since then, several holders of Ant’s shares, including funds managed by BlackRock Inc., have increased the value of their investments, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Hangzhou-based company, which was founded by billionaire Jack Ma, did not provide a schedule for its IPOs or a fundraising target.
“The innovative measures implemented by SSE STAR market and the SEHK have opened the doors for global investors to access leading edge technology companies from the most dynamic economies in the world and for those companies to have greater access to the capital markets,” Jing said.
Ant Group is the parent company of Alipay, the mobile payments provider.
One third of Ant Group is owned by Alibaba Group, which raised $25 billion in an IPO ahead of its listing on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014.
Since January, shares of the Alibaba Group have increased by 12 percent to $247.14 at the close on July 17, up from $219.77.
Last month, Alibaba Group and its competitor JD.com Inc., the Beijing-based online shopping site, netted $136.5 billion in China’s biggest online shopping event. Dubbed 618, named for the date it ends, June 18, the 18-day event delivered $136.5 billion, better numbers than last year as the companies rebounded from the coronavirus.
Alibaba said it handled 698.2 billion yuan ($98.52 billion) during the sale, while JD.com said volume reached 269.2 billion yuan ($38 billion), up from 201.5 billion yuan in 2019.