Goldman Sachs among banks working on $41b Ant IPO

Investment lender hired as joint lead manager on Hong Kong leg of listing: Sources

A staff member in the Alipay and Ant Group headquarters in Shanghai last week. The initial public offering of financial technology company Ant - as soon as next month - would be the first simultaneous listing in Hong Kong and on Shanghai's Star Marke
A staff member in the Alipay and Ant Group headquarters in Shanghai last week. The initial public offering of financial technology company Ant - as soon as next month - would be the first simultaneous listing in Hong Kong and on Shanghai's Star Market. If Ant completes the offering at around US$30 billion (S$41 billion), it would rival oil giant Saudi Aramco, which raised US$29.4 billion last December. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

HONG KONG • Goldman Sachs has joined the growing list of investment banks working on Chinese financial technology company Ant Group's mammoth initial public offering (IPO) of up to US$30 billion (S$41 billion), two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Ant, backed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, plans to list simultaneously in Hong Kong and Shanghai, in what sources have said could be the world's largest IPO, as soon as next month.

Wall Street major Goldman Sachs has been hired as a joint lead manager on the Hong Kong leg of the IPO, said the sources, who declined to be named, as they were not authorised to speak to the media on this subject.

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs, which also acted as a joint lead manager on Alibaba's US$12.9 billion secondary listing in Hong Kong last year, declined to comment.

Ant also declined to comment.

The IPO of Ant, already the world's most valuable unicorn - or billion-dollar unlisted tech firm - would be the first simultaneous listing in Hong Kong and on Shanghai's year-old Star Market.

The Hong Kong leg of the IPO is being sponsored by China International Capital Corp (CICC), Citigroup, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley. Credit Suisse is working as a joint global coordinator.

The top-ranked banks in a Hong Kong IPO are known as sponsors and carry legal liability for the accuracy of the prospectus. Under them are joint global coordinators, and on the bottom rung are joint lead managers.

Ant's Star Market listing is being led by CICC and China Securities.

China's largest brokerage, Citic Securities, is set to have a joint underwriter's role on the mainland tranche, four people with knowledge of the matter said last Friday.

Ant's mega IPO size means a large syndicate of investment banks, especially those with strong retail investor networks, is expected to work on the deal as it progresses towards a possible launch next month.

If Ant completes the offering at around the US$30 billion upper end of expectations, it would rival oil giant Saudi Aramco, which raised US$29.4 billion last December, surpassing the record set by Alibaba's US$25 billion float in 2014.

Ant's biggest and best-known business is Alipay, the largest player in China's 430 trillion yuan (S$85.7 trillion) third-party mobile payments market, according to market researcher Qianzhan.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2020, with the headline 'Goldman Sachs among banks working on $41b Ant IPO'. Subscribe