Ant Group could raise up to $24b in Shanghai IPO leg

The Shanghai office of Alipay, owned by Ant Group, which is an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Ant has chosen the stock code 688688 for its Shanghai listing, which for Chinese speakers combines two of the most auspicious numbers, toget
The Shanghai office of Alipay, owned by Ant Group, which is an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Ant has chosen the stock code 688688 for its Shanghai listing, which for Chinese speakers combines two of the most auspicious numbers, together symbolising long-lasting prosperity and good fortune in Chinese culture.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG • China's Ant Group could raise up to US$17.3 billion (S$23.5 billion) in the Shanghai leg of the likely US$35 billion dual listing, the world's largest ever, after some large investors submitted bids in the range of 68-69 yuan per share, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The simultaneous listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai of the Chinese financial technology giant, backed by e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, would beat the previous largest initial public offering (IPO), Saudi Aramco's US$29.4 billion float last December.

The pricing for the Shanghai tranche was decided last Friday, said Alibaba founder Jack Ma the next day, without disclosing the price. "It's the first time the pricing of such a big listing - the largest in human history - has been determined outside New York City," he told the Bund Summit in the eastern financial hub of Shanghai, referring to Ant's float as a "miracle".

Later on Saturday, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters that many large Chinese fund managers had bid for Ant shares in the listing on the Nasdaq-style Star Market in Shanghai at close to 69 yuan apiece.

At 69 yuan per share, Ant could raise up to 115.3 billion yuan (S$24 billion) in the Shanghai tranche, valuing the company as a whole at up to 2.1 trillion yuan, before a 15 per cent greenshoe or over-allotment option is exercised.

Under local market rules, the final price for the IPO, which would also be the first dual-listing in Hong Kong and on the year-old Star, is based on guidance from large investors.

The people declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media. Ant declined to comment on the pricing.

The IPO would burnish the Shanghai-based exchange's status as a fast-growing centre for capital markets, at a time when rising tensions between China and the US have triggered concerns about the prospects of listing of Chinese companies in New York.

Ant has chosen the stock code 688688 for its Shanghai listing, which for Chinese speakers combines two of the most auspicious numbers, together symbolising long-lasting prosperity and good fortune in Chinese culture.

Books for the Shanghai leg of the float will open for one day today.

Ant plans to sell up to 1.67 billion shares in the Shanghai float, which is set to be the biggest IPO in China, eclipsing the record set by Agricultural Bank of China's US$10.1 billion Shanghai float in 2010, according to Refinitiv data.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2020, with the headline 'Ant Group could raise up to $24b in Shanghai IPO leg'. Print Edition | Subscribe