By Stella Yifan Xie and Jing Yang
HONG KONG--China's Ant Group Co. is aiming to raise at least $34.4 billion in what is due to be the world's biggest-ever initial public offering, a deal that will cement its status as one of the most valuable companies in technology and finance.
The IPO adds to an already frenetic year for China's capital markets, which are enjoying a boom in share sales despite heightened tensions with the United States.
Ant is seeking to raise about $17.2 billion each in Shanghai and Hong Kong, based on prices of 68.8 Chinese yuan ($10.27) and 80 Hong Kong dollars ($10.32) respectively per share, according to regulatory filings. Ant could raise up to a maximum of about $5.2 billion more, if underwriters exercise their option to purchase up to 15% more shares in an arrangement known as a greenshoe.
Those sums would eclipse the $25 billion raised in 2014 by its former parent Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and the $29.4 billion sold more recently by Saudi Aramco, in what is to date the largest-ever IPO.
The price values the Hangzhou-based group at about $313 billion, after including the new capital raised but before any greenshoe. In comparison, Mastercard Inc. was worth about $330 billion as of Friday's close. A private fundraising in 2018 valued Ant at $150 billion.
Its Hong Kong stock will start trading on Nov. 5, according to a filing with that city's stock exchange.
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