Jack Ma’s Ant Group sets price for record $35b IPO

Jack Ma’s Ant Group sets price for record $35b IPO

Ant Group Co has set the price for its initial public offering (IPO) in Shanghai, paving the way for a blockbuster sale that may give the Chinese fintech giant a valuation higher than JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Billionaire founder Jack Ma, speaking at a weekend conference, said Ant has determined the IPO price, though he did not disclose the amount.

Pricing details for the China shares are expected by today, Tuesday, with the Hong Kong price to be announced as soon as Oct 29, people familiar with the matter have said.

The stock sale by Ma’s finance giant is one of the most hotly anticipated IPOs in years, on course to make history by surpassing Saudi Aramco’s record $29 billion share sale in 2019.

Large investors have put in bids of about 68 to 69 yuan a share for the Shanghai stock, Reuters reported.

That would value the China portion of the sale at as much as $17.3 billion, or close to $35 billion for the dual listing including the Hong Kong leg.

“This was the first time such a big listing, the largest in human history, was priced outside New York City,” Ma told the Bund Summit in Shanghai Saturday. “We wouldn’t have dared to think about it five years, or even three years ago.”

The company may raise another $5 billion after it exercises the so-called greenshoe option to meet demand, people familiar with the matter have said, adding the numbers are subject to change.

That would give Ant a valuation of about $320 billion, making it bigger than JPMorgan and four times larger than Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The IPO is attracting interest from some of the world’s biggest money managers, and sparking a frenzy among individual investors in China clamouring for a piece of the sale.

T Rowe Price Group Inc, UBS Asset Management and FMR LLC, the parent of Fidelity Investments, are among the money managers angling for a piece of the deal, a person familiar with the matter has said.

Each of the firms is considering investments worth several billion dollars in the Hong Kong-listed shares, though they’ve yet to finalize plans and there’s no guarantee they’ll get an allocation, the person said.

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd, Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd and China’s US$318 billion National Council for Social Security Fund are also jockeying for a slice of the IPO, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month. Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd will also buy new Ant shares to maintain its ownership stake at around 32 per cent.