A listing application by Ant Group, China’s largest digital payments provider and digital finance platform by volume, is set for review by regulators on September 18, Shanghai’s stock exchange said late on Wednesday.
Ant filed its initial public offering (IPO) papers last month on Shanghai’s Star Market, as the Science and Technology Innovation Board is known, formally kicking off the process for what is likely to be the largest fundraising in history.
The fintech unicorn will sell not less than 10 per cent of its total capital post issuance, split between Hong Kong and Shanghai’s Star Market. While the size of the IPO is still subject to market conditions, the dual listing is widely expected to surpass the US$29.4 billion listing last December by Saudi Aramco, the current record holder for the world’s largest fundraising.
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Ant operates payments provider Alipay. Photo: Getty Images alt=Ant operates payments provider Alipay. Photo: Getty Images
The Star Market listing committee will meet at 9am on September 18 to vet Ant’s IPO application, the exchange said. A person familiar with the matter said that the exchange had expedited the listing process to bring Ant more quickly to market. Exchanges around the world are locked in fierce competition to attract fast-growing technology companies.
Ant has already responded to the Shanghai exchange’s questions about its ownership structure, competition in digital payments in China and overseas, customers’ privacy as well as its listing plan in Hong Kong. A one-third share in Ant Group is held by the South China Morning Post’s parent Alibaba Group Holding.
If the listing committee gives the green light to the listing application, the paperwork will pass to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) for registration.
The company has also applied for a listing in Hong Kong, and its application is wending its way through a process laid out by the exchange’s listing division. The exchange has scheduled a meeting to vet the application later this month, another person familiar with the matter said.
If the CSRC and Hong Kong’s exchange both approve the filing, Ant can ramp up marketing its IPO in October, which could raise the company around US$30 billion. Ant will gauge demand for the stock before setting a price range for the offering. At that point, institutional and retail investors will be able to subscribe for the shares. Only thereafter will the stock trade on the two exchanges.
The dual offering could make Ant Group the poster boy for China’s plan to attract fast-growing companies to power domestic capital markets, helping its home-grown champions secure funding to support growth and compete with global rivals.
Additional reporting by Daniel Ren
This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
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