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Ant Financial raises $14 billion in world's largest-ever single fundraising

Reuters  |  SHANGHAI/BEIJING 

By and Cate Cadell

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - Ant Financial Services Group, operator of China's biggest online payment platform, on Friday said it raised around $14 billion in what market watchers called the biggest-ever single fundraising globally by a private company.

The cash will boost Ant's firepower ahead of a widely expected initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong and mainland as early as next year - though the company has neither publicly set a timetable nor chosen a likely stock exchange.

The exercise amounted to the largest confirmed single fundraising round in history, according to data provider

Ant Financial, spun off from before the firm's 2014 listing, has played a major role in shaping China's landscape. It oversees the largest mobile payment app in what is increasingly becoming a cash-less society.

In a statement, Ant said the funding included both U.S. dollar and Chinese yuan tranches. The dollar share made up over $10 billion, said people with knowledge of the matter.

said in a statement that it will invest about $600 million in Ant Financial's unit,

Ant listed Singaporean sovereign wealth fund (SWF) and state investor Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd, as well as U.S. firm as participants in the dollar tranche.

Other global investors included Malaysian SWF and U.S. firms and Atlantic, it said.

Ant did not release details of its valuation following the funding round. reported earlier that Ant was likely to be valued at around $150 billion, making it one of the world's most valuable financial firms.

"It's the most uniquely positioned TechFin company in the world," said Ben Zhou, a of Warburg Pincus, who led the firm's investment in Ant.

Participants in the yuan tranche were mainly existing shareholders, Ant said. Among them was China-focused firm Boyu Capital, which invested in both the yuan and dollar tranches, said two of the people with knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified as details were private.

Ant declined to comment on specific investors beyond those disclosed in its statement. Boyu did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ant, in its statement, said it would use the funds to speed up globalisation plans for its payment platform and to invest in developing

Figures seen by showed that in five years, Ant expects 65 percent of revenue to come from including assisting banks and other institutions as well as providing

The emphasis on business comes as Ant shifts focus away from in amid increased regulatory scrutiny of financial risk.

Nevertheless, it aims to reach 2 billion consumers globally with its in coming years, backed by investments and strategic partnerships with Southeast Asian payment firms as well as tie-ups in South Korea, and

"Now, with the help of our partners, we are going to accelerate our strategy," said

Aside from payments, Ant also offers products including credit services, and micro-loans.

Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, International Capital Corp, CITIC Securities, and acted as to Ant.

(Reporting by in SHANGHAI, Cate in BEIJNG, and Julie Zhu and Kane Wu in HONG KONG; Editing by and Christopher Cushing)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, June 08 2018. 23:04 IST
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