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Chinese fintech Ant promotes world’s largest IPO

D.he Chinese fintech Ant can launch the world’s largest IPO. The Chinese Securities Commission (CSRC) finally gave the green light for the issue on Wednesday. Ant then announced that he would set the price for the shares on October 26th. However, the operator of the payment service Alipay did not mention a price range for the 3.4 billion shares on offer or a date for the initial listing in its stock market prospectus, which was updated on Wednesday.

With the IPO, the Chinese group wants to exceed the previous record emissions of the oil giant Saudi Aramco, which had raised 29.4 billion dollars last year, according to industry experts. Ant is hoping for a valuation of more than $ 250 billion.

IPO in Shanghai and Hong Kong

The Ant Group plans to go public in Shanghai and Hong Kong at the same time. The group, which belongs to the empire of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, is offering 1.67 billion shares each. Added to this is a placement reserve (“greenshoe”) of 15 percent. The Alibaba subsidiary Zhejiang Tmall Technology will subscribe 730 million of the shares offered in Shanghai, according to the prospectus.

With Alipay, Ant operates the dominant payment service in China and also offers loans, insurance and wealth management services via the apps. In the first nine months of 2020, Ant increased operating income 42.6 percent to the equivalent of $ 17.8 billion. Alibaba holds a third of the shares in Ant. Since the last financing round in 2018, well-known investors such as the state fund Temasek from Singapore and the financial investor Warburg Pincus have also been involved in the fintech.

Actually planned for the beginning of October

Ant had had to wait a long time for all the necessary approvals from the authorities. It was only on Wednesday that the securities regulator CSRC gave the green light for the IPO in Shanghai, after having given the green light for the issue in Hong Kong a few days ago. Ant originally wanted to go public in early October, but the securities regulator’s review of the plans dragged on. According to insiders, CSRC was investigating a possible conflict of interest.

The date for the initial listing will be set at a later date, according to the prospectus. People familiar with the plans have spoken of a planned date for the stock market debut shortly after the US presidential election, which will take place on November 3rd. The nervousness of investors has recently increased in view of the rising number of corona infections and the approaching elections. Several IPOs were therefore put on hold.

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