Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of China-based e-commerce group Alibaba, is looking to raise between $8bn and $9bn at a valuation of about $150bn, according to reports yesterday.
People with knowledge of the plan told Reuters the company is in talks with investors to raise at least $8bn, and that Singaporean state-owned firm Temasek is in line to lead the round.
The Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the matter who said Ant is targeting $9bn, and that it has already raised $3bn from a range of Chinese, US and international investors.
Both publications published the same proposed valuation, which would make Ant the most valuable venture capital-backed company of all time. Reuters reported in February this year that Ant planned to raise $5bn at an $80bn to $100bn valuation.
Ant Financial was formed by Alibaba in 2014 to oversee financial services products, such as online payment platform Alipay. Its subsidiaries also include asset management fund Yu’e Bao, mobile bank Mybank and Zhima Credit, the credit scoring system also known as Sesame Credit.
Alibaba agreed in February 2018 to acquire a 33% stake in Ant in return for surrendering ownership of certain intellectual properties, under terms originally agreed in 2014.
Ant is planning to go public as soon as this year through listings in China and internationally, a person familiar with the company’s plans told the WSJ.
The company raised an undisclosed amount in 2015 from the state-owned National Council for Social Security Fund and China Development Bank as well as unnamed domestic insurance companies, which jointly took a 12.4% stake at a reported $40bn to $50bn valuation.
China Post Capital, the investment arm of postal services provider China Post Group, added an undisclosed amount the same year before returning for a $4.5bn round in 2016 that valued Ant at $60bn.
Insurance firms including China Life also took part in the 2016 round, as did China Development Bank Capital, sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp (CIC), private equity firm Primavera Capital Group and CCB Trust, a subsidiary of China Construction Bank.