Ant Financial pushes series C to $14bn

The round was already the largest ever at the previously reported $10bn mark but has been revealed to stand even taller with an additional $4bn.

Ant Financial, the China-based financial services affiliate of e-commerce group Alibaba, raised approximately $14bn in a series C round today backed by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC.

The round consisted of a US dollar-denominated tranche, which was backed by GIC as well as Temasek, an investment firm owned by the Singaporean state, Warburg Pincus, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Silver Lake and General Atlantic.

Carlyle Group, Janchor Partners, Discovery Capital Management, Baillie Gifford, Primavera Capital and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates have also provided capital, as has Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional.

The renminbi-denominated tranche was largely provided by existing, unnamed investors.

Sequoia Capital China and BlackRock were reported as participating in the round by various media outlets last month, when reports emerged that Ant Financial had closed the round at $10bn. Ant’s valuation has not been confirmed, but has been rumoured to be $150bn.

Ant Financial operates a host of financial services products developed or connected to Alibaba, which spun the company out in 2011.

The company’s flagship product is Alipay, which dominates more than half of China’s mobile payment market, with other tools including credit scoring platform Sesame and money management fund Yu’e Bao.

The equity round, which stands as the largest ever raised by a private company, will allow Ant Financial to accelerate the global expansion of Alipay, with an initial focus on India, Thailand, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The cash will also go towards the development of new technology, with a key focus on blockchain, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and security.

If the $150bn valuation proves correct, the series C round more than doubled Ant Financial’s worth from $60bn that the company achieved in 2016 when it raised $4.5bn from investors including postal service China Post and insurance provider China Life.

The series B round also featured China Development Bank (CDB), China Construction Bank’s CCB Trust vehicle, Primavera Capital Group and the state-owned China Investment Corp.

Ant Financial had previously obtained an undisclosed amount of series A funding in 2015 from investors including CDB, the Chinese government’s National Social Security Fund and unnamed insurance firms, at a valuation of $45bn to $50bn.

Eric Jing, executive chairman and chief executive of Ant Financial, said: “We are pleased to welcome these investors as partners, who share our vision and mission, to embark on our journey to further promote inclusive finance globally and bring equal opportunities to the world.

“We are proud of, and inspired by, the transformation we have affected in the lives of ordinary people and small businesses over the past 14 years. Now, with the help of our partners, we are going to accelerate our strategy.

“We are dedicated to building an open ecosystem with all our partners in China and beyond. We will continue to invest in technology and innovation in order to serve unmet financial needs of people everywhere and to enable them to benefit from the development of the digital economy.”

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