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From: Glenn Petersen8/23/2020 11:52:56 PM
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Jack Ma’s Ant Group Produces $3.5 Billion Profit in Six Months as IPO Looms

Results show how lucrative the Chinese financial-technology giant’s business has been as it gears up for blockbuster offering

By Stella Yifan Xie
Wall Street Journal
Aug. 20, 2020 12:03 pm ET

HONG KONG—Ant Group Co., the Chinese financial-technology giant backed by billionaire Jack Ma, earned roughly $3.5 billion over a recent six-month period, showing how lucrative the company’s business has been as it gears up for a blockbuster initial public offering.

Financial results released Thursday by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., BABA 3.04% which owns a 33% stake in Ant, showed that the soon-to-be-listed company posted a profit of about 9.2 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) in the three months to March, and around 15.5 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) in the quarter ended December 2019.

Ant owns Alipay, a highly popular mobile-payments network that is used by more than 900 million people in China to spend money online and in physical stores, pay bills, take public transportation, and make big-ticket purchases. The company also provides a range of financial services to millions of businesses in the country. It supplies technology to financial institutions and other organizations, and sells financial products including mutual funds and insurance policies to scores of individuals.

The Hangzhou-based company, which was valued at $150 billion in a private fundraising round in June 2018, said last month that it is planning concurrent initial public offerings on stock exchanges in Hong Kong and Shanghai. The combined offerings could be among the largest in history, and would take place roughly six years after Alibaba’s own record-setting $25 billion IPO in New York.

Alibaba, which last year added a second listing in Hong Kong, reports financial results using U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, so its profit figures for Ant could differ from the results that Ant will disclose in its coming listing prospectus.

Ant is aiming for a market capitalization of more than $200 billion when it goes public, The Wall Street Journal previously reported. That would make it more valuable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and place it close to PayPal Inc., whose market capitalization was recently above $220 billion following a big share-price run-up this year.

The first quarter is usually a seasonally weaker period for Ant as business activity slows down around the country’s Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.

The three months to March 2020 included weeks in which many cities in China were under lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus across the country. During this period, many restaurants and businesses were closed and people were largely confined to their homes, and curbed spending as a result.

Still, Ant’s first-quarter profit was more than 500% higher than the same period a year ago, according to Alibaba’s filings. The companies didn’t provide reasons for the year-over-year surge.

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From: Julius Wong8/24/2020 2:28:27 PM
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Jack Ma's $200 billion Chinese fintech firm Ant Group could reportedly go public in October in a monster IPO. Here's how the company went from an ant-sized startup to PayPal rival.

* Ant Group, an affiliate fintech company of Chinese retail behemoth Alibaba, is gearing up to go public with an anticipated $200 billion valuation.
* The company was formed in 2014 to run Alipay, a ubiquitous digital payment service used by millions of Chinese shoppers.
* Here's what we know about Ant Group, whose IPO could catapult the fintech firm past the world's most established financial institutions, like Goldman Sachs.

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From: Julius Wong8/27/2020 7:30:44 AM
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What you need to know about unicorn Ant Financial, potentially the largest IPO in history

This “ant” is really an elephant.

Ant Financial, which rebranded itself to Ant Group in June in an apparent effort to stress tech over finance and ward off Chinese finance regulators, filed papers on Tuesday to go public in a dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The offering could eclipse the $29 billion raised by Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering, which listed last December on that country’s local market. If Ant’s target numbers hold, it would become the new largest IPO in history.

That’s fitting of the world’s most valuable private tech unicorn, last valued at $150 billion in 2018 after a record $14 billon funding round. Now it’s targeting a public valuation of $225 billion.

So, what exactly does Ant do, and how did it become so valuable?

HANGZHOU, CHINA - JULY 21, 2020 - Ant Financial logo photographed at the hangzhou headquarters of Ant Group, the parent company of Alipay. Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, July 21, 2020. - PHOTOGRAPH BY Costfoto / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Before Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO in 2014 (the world’s largest until Saudi Aramco), Alibaba CEO Jack Ma spun out its payments division under the name Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group, later just Ant Financial Services Group. The obvious aim was to eventually bring Ant public on its own. Four years later, Alibaba took a 33% stake in Ant. Ant Group’s CEO is Alibaba alum Simon Hu, but Jack Ma is Ant’s largest shareholder. (In its IPO filing, Ant Group says its “origin and continued affiliation with Alibaba is a source of strength as well as purpose.”)

Ant’s core product is Alipay, the most popular digital payments app in China. It boasts a more than 50% share of China’s massive mobile payments market, the largest in the world. Experts don’t see the mobile payment revolution slowing any time soon, and Alipay is the global king in mobile payments. It also sells tech services to other Chinese financial and e-commerce businesses.

Alipay launched in 2004 and hit 1.2 billion users last year. Almost all of its growth has come in Asia, though Alipay has signed a slew of U.S. partnerships with chains like Walgreens ( WBA) and Neiman Marcus to let Alipay customers from China pay with Alipay when shopping in America. Last year, Alipay also opened up its app to American tourists in China — that was before the COVID-19 pandemic put a prolonged halt to global tourism.

Alipay users conduct more than 100 million mobile transactions on Alipay every day. The app’s biggest competitor in China is WeChat Pay, from Alibaba rival Tencent ( TCEHY).

And then there’s Yu’ebao, China’s largest money-market fund, with $170 billion in assets. Ant Group owns that, too. Ant sees itself as far more than a payments firm: its stated mission is “to make it easy to do business anywhere.”

Ant’s public offering will stand apart from the new unicorn IPO parade about to happen in America: Airbnb, DoorDash, Snowflake, and Palantir (via directing listing) are all aiming to go public by the end of this year — but none are profitable yet.

Ant Group, in contrast, is wildly profitable. In its IPO filing, it reveals $3.2 billion of profit in the first half of 2020 ($10.5 billion in revenue), reflecting year-over-year growth of 1,000%. And that eye-popping profit came during a global pandemic.

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From: Julius Wong10/10/2020 7:35:46 AM
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Chinese funds targeting Ant IPO draw $9B from millions of retail investors
Oct. 9, 2020 1:31 AM ET|About: Alibaba Group Holding Limited (BABA)|By: Jason Aycock, SA News Editor

Five new Chinese funds targeting the giant upcoming IPO of Ant Group (NYSE: BABA) sold out in days and have cumulatively raised 60B yuan - about $8.93B - from more than 10M retail investors.

An average of eight investors per second placed orders during the subscription period, Reuters notes, pointing to the frenzy for the listing even as the U.S. looks into restricting Ant Group's payment systems.

The five funds launched Sept. 25 to raise 12B yuan each and invest up to 10% of assets to buy Ant IPO shares. Two of the funds hit their fund-raising target even before a weeklong Chinese National Day holiday that began Oct. 1. Friday's resumption of business saw Alipay (Ant's online payment platform) announcing the other three funds were sold out.

Ant is looking to raise about $35B in a dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai - what could become the world's largest IPO and value the company at more than $250B.

The fund rush is a coup for Alipay, which acts as the sole third-party distributor of the five mutual funds, a model that looks to disrupt traditional fund sales.

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From: Glenn Petersen10/10/2020 8:15:28 AM
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Alibaba Stock Hits Record

Recent rally cements company’s position as one of the world’s most valuable technology companies

By Chong Koh Ping
Wall Street Journal
Oct. 9, 2020 5:46 am ET

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA -0.27% ’s stock has hit a record high, as investor confidence builds that the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated China’s rapid embrace of online commerce, and as its financial affiliate Ant Group Inc. prepares to go public.

The recent rally has lifted Alibaba’s market value above $800 billion, cementing its position as one of the world’s most valuable technology companies and opening a gap between it and Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY 1.98% , China’s other dominant tech group.

Its New York-traded American depositary receipts closed Thursday at a record $300.54. Those shares have jumped 42% this year, according to FactSet.

DBS Bank analyst Tam Tsz Wang said Alibaba’s shares were sluggish earlier this year when movement in much of China was severely restricted, and as it struggled to fulfill a surge in demand for goods bought online.

Still, the disruption helped Alibaba grow in smaller cities and in home delivery of everyday items such as fresh fruit and vegetables, he said. “We are starting to see some positive results in the third and fourth quarter due to the positive structural change that has happened,” Mr. Tam said.

In contrast, Mr. Tam said that while Tencent benefited immediately from the lockdown, investors now expect growth in its games business to moderate from the third quarter onward as people return to work and have less time to spend on games.

Carmen Lee, head of OCBC Investment Research, said the impending listing of Ant, in which Alibaba holds a 33% equity stake, had helped it outperform Tencent in the past month. Both companies are up by similar percentages year to date.

Ms. Lee said investors seem to have shrugged off concerns that U.S.-China tensions could hurt Ant’s listing. Alibaba’s stock kept climbing despite reports the Trump administration was exploring restrictions on Ant’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay over concerns that those payment platforms could threaten national security.

Disruption earlier in the year helped Alibaba grow in smaller cities and in home delivery of everyday items, an analyst said.PHOTO: GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
At an investor conference that ended Sept. 30, Alibaba said its cloud-computing business would turn profitable and its logistics arm, Cainiao, would have positive cash flow from operations in the financial year to March, further boosting its stock, said Chelsey Tam, a senior equity analyst at Morningstar.

"Generally, Alibaba’s management’s tone is about digitalization and how Covid has accelerated it,” she added, referring to Covid-19.

Alibaba shares also trade in Hong Kong, where they hit an intraday record of 293 Hong Kong dollars, the equivalent of US$37.81, on Friday. The stock later pared gains to close 1.2% lower at HK$286.20, slightly below last month’s record close of HK$291.20.

Write to Chong Koh Ping at

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the October 10, 2020, print edition as 'Alibaba Shares Outshine Tencent.'

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From: Julius Wong10/21/2020 9:19:39 AM
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Jack Ma's Ant Group gets Chinese approval for Shanghai arm of $35B IPO

The Shanghai arm of Ant Group's (NYSE: BABA) potential record dual IPO has received approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

The $35B IPO, split between Hong Kong and Shanghai, would become the world's largest offering and would reportedly come with a $280B valuation, a figure that has been raised at least twice and that's triple the size of Citigroup.

With the Shanghai approval, Ant Group could move onto pricing the listing as early as next week.

The timing would put the pricing ahead of the U.S. election. The Justice Department has reportedly filed to put Ant Group on the trade blacklist.

Yesterday, Ant Group received final approval for its Hong Kong listing.

Retired Alibaba chairman Jack Ma holds the controlling stake of Ant Group, while Alibaba has a 33% non-controlling stake.

BABA shares are up 0.5% pre-market to $311.26.

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From: Julius Wong10/23/2020 5:22:02 PM
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Investors scurry to get in on Ant Group's record $35B dual-listed IPO
Oct. 23, 2020 9:45 AM ET|About: Alibaba Group Holding Limited (BABA)|By: Brandy Betz, SA News Editor

Fintech Ant Group (NYSE: BABA) is reserving 80% of its Shanghai IPO shares for institutional investors, leaving smaller investors scrambling to secure a spot.

Smaller Chinese investors are turning to Shanghai's Regan Fund Management Co and other firms to help acquire shares in that arm of the offering, which Regan Fund says is easier to get in on than the Hong Kong arm.

The institutional investors who have a spot include Alibaba, which plans to buy 22% of the shares on offer.

STAR Market listings typically only set aside 19% for such buyers, according to Refinitiv data.

Some of Ant's strategic investors will have lock-up periods longer than the typical year, another unusual move.

On the Hong Kong side of the deal, Bloomberg sources say that T. Rowe Price, UBS, and Fidelity Investments parent FMR are considering investments worth several billion dollars.

Ant Group is reportedly seeking $35B in the dual listing, creating the world's largest IPO. The Hong Kong portion is expected to price as soon as October 29.

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To: Julius Wong who wrote (724)10/24/2020 10:02:19 PM
From: Following-Mr.Pink
   of 800
This will be such an exciting IPO; it's a shame that only global fund managers will have access to it from North America (and retail US investors will have a bit of a harder time -- will be on the lookout to buy an ADR)

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From: Julius Wong10/26/2020 7:07:13 AM
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BMW and Alibaba join hands to promote digital transformation across businesses
Oct. 26, 2020 6:15 AM ET|About: Alibaba Group Holding L... (BABA)|By: Niloofer Shaikh, SA News Editor

BMW ( OTCPK:BMWYY) and Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for strategic partnership in Beijing to leverage their own resources and carry out comprehensive cooperation in branding, marketing, channels, end-to-end operations, services, information technology, etc., aiming to implement the digitalization strategy into BMW’s full business process and enable dealers to provide an end-to-end and online-to-offline digital experience for customers.

BMW and Alibaba will jointly launch the first online sales and services businesses engaging dealers among premium auto brands, to create a seamless end-to-end online-to-offline digital experience.

In the future, online traffic will be directed to BMW dealers to create more business opportunities for them.

With the assistance of Alibaba’s membership system, BMW and MINI will launch brands’ membership services and marketing campaigns on Alibaba’s various online platforms to enhance customer loyalty, increase their level of activity, and drive business growth.

Jochen Goller, President and CEO of BMW Group Region China, said, “Cross industry collaboration and open innovation exchange are indispensable in accelerating the ongoing digital transformation of our company. As one of China’s leading tech enterprises, Alibaba has unique competencies in terms of digital technologies, large scale customer platforms and channels as well as targeted consumers operations. We are delighted to join hands to create holistic online-to-offline digital brand experiences for our Chinese consumers, and at the same time increase our portfolio of digital products and services.”

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To: Julius Wong who wrote (724)10/26/2020 8:02:50 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 800
Ant Group to raise $34.5 billion valuing it at over $313 billion in biggest IPO of all time

Arjun Kharpal


-- Ant Group will raise $34.5 billion in its dual initial public offering (IPO) after setting the price for its shares on Monday, making it the biggest listing of all time.

-- Ant’s valuation based on the pricing will be $313.37 billion, larger than some of the biggest banks in the U.S., including Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo.

Ant Group will raise $34.5 billion in its dual initial public offering (IPO) after setting the price for its shares on Monday, making it the biggest listing of all time.

The Chinese financial technology giant previously said it would split its stock issuance equally across Shanghai and Hong Kong, issuing 1.67 billion new shares in each location.

Ant Group’s Shanghai-listed shares will be priced at 68.8 yuan each. The issuing of 1.67 billion shares will raise 114.94 billion yuan or $17.23 billion, according to the exchange rate listed in the official filings.

The Hong Kong-listed shares have been priced at 80 Hong Kong dollars each, raising 133.65 billion Hong Kong dollars or $17.24 billion.

The listing will raise a total of just under $34.5 billion, with the possibility for that figure to go higher if the so-called over-allotment option is exercised, depending on demand. It makes it the largest IPO of all time, putting it ahead of previous record holder Saudi Aramco, which raised just over $29 billion.

Ant’s valuation based on the pricing will be $313.37 billion, larger than some of the biggest banks in the U.S., including Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo.

Ant Group is expected to start trading in Hong Kong on Nov. 5, according to the regulatory filing. The company has not disclosed when its Shanghai shares will begin trading.

The Chinese company previously said that strategic investors have agreed to subscribe to 80% of the company’s Shanghai-issued shares. Alibaba, via its subsidiary Zhejiang Tmall Technology, has agreed to buy 730 million A-shares, which are yuan-denominated shares of Chinese companies listed in mainland exchanges. This will allow Alibaba to maintain its roughly 33% stake in Ant Group.

Ant’s pricing comes after regulators in mainland China and Hong Kong gave the green light for the listing last week.

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