In what sounds like a prelude to an eventual public market debut, Alibaba’s financial arm Ant Financial plans to raise up to US$ 5 billion at a $ 100 billion valuation, according to Reuters.
Alibaba and Ant Financial jointly announced earlier this month that the Chinese e-commerce conglomerate would purchase a 33 percent stake in the latter, a move seems to bring Ant Financial one step closer to an avidly expected IPO.
An Ant Financial spokesperson told KrASIA that they “don’t comment on market rumors.”
Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter asking to be anonymous due to sensitivity, said that the Alibaba affiliate is seeking to appoint advisers for the fundraising, which could be viewed as a pre-IPO round that is becoming a common practice by Chinese companies to establish valuation and widen investors base ahead of a float.
The people spoke to Reuters said that Ant Financial could start the fundraising in coming months.
According to Alibaba CFO, Ant Financial has yet to decide on a timetable or choose a place to get listed, though some locations, including Chinese A Share, Hong Kong and the U.S., have emerged as possible options.