Ant eyes record as IPO target raised to US$35b

Finance | Bloomberg and Avery Chen 22 Sep 2020

Jack Ma Yun's Ant Group is seeking to raise at least US$35 billion (HK$273 billion) in its initial public offering after assessing early investor interest, people familiar with the matter said, putting the Chinese fintech giant on track for a record debut sale.

Ant lifted its IPO target based on an increased valuation of about US$250 billion, up from previous estimates of US$225 billion, said the people. It was earlier expecting to raise at least US$30 billion.

Ant's simultaneous listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai may mark the biggest IPO ever, topping Saudi Aramco's record US$29 billion sale.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority yesterday sold HK$14.725 billion - the largest sale so far this year - into the market yesterday, as the local currency once again hit the strong end of its trading band with the US dollar, boosted by IPO activities. The aggregate balance will rise to HK$239.379 billion on September 23.

Chinese No 2 online retailer (9618) said last night it plans to spin off its health business in Hong Kong, while the IPO timing will depend on market conditions, it said.

JD Health is set to submit an application to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange this week for its IPO that could raise about US$2 billion, mainland media reported.

But Guangzhou Yatsen E-Commerce, parent of Perfect Diary cosmetics brand, has dropped its Hong Kong IPO plan and is seeking to list in the United States, mainland media reported. The company is valued at US$4 billion after five rounds of financing.

In other IPO action, shares of Huazhu Group (1179) inched up by less than 2.4 percent in grey markets ahead of its mainboard debut. The New York-listed hotel group has raised HK$5.92 billion after pricing its IPO at HK$297 apiece. Its retail portion was oversubscribed by 2.39 times.

Biopharmaceutical company Everest Medicines has started a roadshow for its public sale that could raise US$450 million.

Four companies were offering new shares yesterday. Express delivery giant ZTO Express Cayman had attracted margin loans worth HK$1.23 billion by yesterday, meaning its retail portion is oversubscribed one time.

In other news, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (0388) has set up a platform, FiNL, to shorten the IPO settlement cycle from the current five days, local media reported.

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