Jack Ma’s Ant Group Set for £26 Billion IPO

The fintech unicorn’s world record-setting IPO will float on Shanghai and Hong Kong stock markets, snubbing the US.

Chinese fintech company Ant Group has set the price for its initial public offering at $34.4 billion on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges, marking the world’s largest ever stock market flotation.

Ant Group, which is backed by Jack Ma – the 56-year-old billionaire founder of eCommerce giant Alibaba – set its share price on Monday. It soundly passed the previous record for the largest stock market debut, held by Saudi Aramco, which floated at $29.4 billion in December 2019.

Due to Jack Ma’s stake in the company, Bloomberg estimates that the stock sale will push his personal net worth past $71.1 billion, making him the 11th wealthiest person alive.

The bulk of Ant Group’s worth comes from its ownership of Alipay, which is the dominant online payment system in China. According to a recent annual report, Alipay has 1.3 billion users, most of whom are Chinese, with the remainder coming from other Asian nations.

Alipay is well positioned to grow even further in value, having reported a total of $17.6 trllion worth of payments having been made through its platform during the year ending in June.

Ant’s IPO may also draw attention to Brazil’s StoneCo and India’s Paytm, two fintech companies in which Ant Group and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway are both invested.

Ant will be selling only around 11% of its shares, meaning that the overall value of the business will be priced at roughly $313 billion.

Also significant is Ant Group’s listing on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock indexes, snubbing American markets. During the Bund Summit on Saturday, Jack Ma played up the significance of the event.

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

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