The Chinese fintech company Ant Group is heading for the largest IPO in history. The company operates, among others, Alipay, the world’s largest online payment service with more than a billion users. 15 percent of the shares of Ant Group will go to the market next week, at a price that is aiming for a return of 29.1 billion euros. The IPO by far surpasses the largest debut in equity trading to date, that of oil giant Saudi Aramco last year.
According to the expected proceeds, Ant Group would now be worth 265 billion euros. That’s more than the world’s largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. Investor interest in Ant Group was initially overshadowed by the Chinese government’s far-reaching oversight of Chinese payments and the prospect that the US could blacklist Ant Group.
But the continued growth of the fintech giant now seems to be acting like a magnet on the investment billions. Not only does the company handle the majority of payments in China, it also manages wealth for wealthy clients and sells insurance and a variety of investment products.
Ant Group is largely owned by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma. He is also co-founder of the Alibaba webshop, which sends billions of parcels worldwide every year. 29 large investors jointly buy 80 percent of the offered shares in Ant Group. About a third of that goes to Zhejiang Tmall Technology, a subsidiary of Alibaba. 20 percent of the available shares will be offered on November 5 on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges.