Now, the China-based company has officially filed papers for the blockbuster public offering, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday (Oct. 26). Ant is out to raise $17.2 billion in both Shanghai and Hong Kong, for a total of more than $34.4 billion.
Ant Group is the online payment affiliate of China-based Alibaba Group Holding.
The largest-ever IPO at this point is Saudi Aramco’s $29.4 billion sale of stock last year. Previously, Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO in 2014 was the biggest.
However, Ant Group could rake in even more cash — up to $5.2 billion, the Journal said. That’s if underwriters take advantage of their option to purchase as much as 15 percent more shares.
The price values Ant at about $313 billion, before the exercise of options. The news outlet reported that a private fundraising in 2018 put Ant’s worth at $150 billion.
In the buildup to its official filing, Ant was beating the bushes to bring in potential investors and build momentum in the financial markets.
For one, it gave users of Ant’s Alipay a chance to invest. To buy into the Hangzhou-based Ant Group’s IPO, investors put their cash into five new mutual funds — sold on Ant’s payments platform — that raised more than $8.96 billion. A possible downside to the unusual arrangement was that the individual investors had to lock up their money for 18 months. An upside: Small investors were allowed to get on board.
To get users to invest, the company launched an advertising campaign that included everything from live-streamed online discussions with investment professionals to ads at bus stops.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma has noted that Ant’s upcoming IPO would be “the largest in human history.” Reuters reported yesterday (Oct. 25) that Ma emphasized at an event that it’s the first time such a blockbuster deal has occurred outside of New York City.