Jack Ma's Ant Is Raising $9 Billion Ahead of an IPO, WSJ Says
(Bloomberg) -- Ant Financial is in talks to raise $9 billion in a funding round that could value the Chinese online giant controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma at close to $150 billion, the Wall Street Journal cited unidentified sources as saying.
China’s largest internet financial services company is raising funds ahead of a highly anticipated initial public offering. Ant, in which Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. plans to acquire a one-third stake, controls the country’s largest mobile payments service and its biggest money market fund, and has been moving deeper into areas from consumer lending to credit scoring.
Ant raised its fundraising target from a previous $5 billion, the Journal reported. The company had no immediate comment.
Formally known as Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group Co., Ant Financial operates Alipay and is based in Hangzhou -- Alibaba’s hometown. Alibaba Vice Chairman Joe Tsai has said Ant is profitable in its three key businesses of payments, wealth management and lending to consumers and small and medium-sized businesses.
Alibaba hasn’t held a stake in the owner of Alipay since Ma controversially spun out the business in 2011. Ant’s had a string of recent setbacks, with its U.S. expansion thwarted by the collapse of a deal for MoneyGram International Inc., while its Chinese business faces scrutiny from regulators and increased competition from Tencent Holdings Ltd.
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