Ant Financial to access $10bn

The Alibaba affiliate is raising funding from a range of institutional investors at a $150bn+ valuation, the largest ever by a private VC-backed company.

Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of China-based e-commerce group Alibaba, is raising $10bn at a valuation of more than $150bn, the Financial Times reported this week, citing people involved in the transaction.

Although none of the participants in the round have been confirmed, the sources said it would likely include Carlyle Group, General Atlantic, Silver Lake Partners, Sequoia Capital China, Warburg Pincus, Temasek, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board and BlackRock.

The round will consist of convertible note financing that will convert into shares when Ant Financial goes public, rather than direct equity funding, according to the sources, who added that multiple prospective participants were turned down by Ant Financial.

Ant Financial operates a range of online and mobile payment and financial services products with a total of more than 620 million registered users, according to an internal memo seen by the FT.

The largest of the company’s services is Alipay, the mobile payment platform connected to Alibaba’s considerable e-commerce holdings, which has about 520 million users. Ant also runs asset management fund Yu’e Bao and credit scoring platform Sesame Credit among others.

Alibaba has owned 33% of Ant Financial since February this year, due to an agreement in 2014, at the time of Ant’s formation, that involved the transfer of certain intellectual property from Alibaba at a later date in exchange for equity.

Ant Financial initially secured an undisclosed amount of funding in a 2015 series A round featuring China’s National Social Security Fund, China Development Bank (CDB) and undisclosed insurance firms that valued it at between $45bn and $50bn.

CDB, postal services group China Post, insurer China Life, the state-owned China Investment Corp (CIC), Primavera Capital Group and CCB Trust, part of financial services firm China Construction Bank, subsequently provided $4.5bn for the company at a $60bn valuation the following year.

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