Alibaba’s Ant Financial to raise as much as $3 billion in debt
China’s most valuable online finance company, Ant Financial, is in early stage talks with banks to raise between $2 billion to $3 billion in debt to fund acquisitions and foreign investments, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Banks have made “soft pitches” to help Ant raise funds, most likely through loans, to be used by the company for acquisitions such as that of MoneyGram International Inc as well as for boosting existing investments, the person said.
Ant, an affiliate of online shopping giant Alibaba Group, dominates China’s online payment market, but has been ramping up investment overseas amid fierce rivalry at home with peers like Tencent Holdings Ltd’s popular WeChat Pay.
“It is the market practice for a globalized company like Ant Financial to raise debt in U.S. dollars,” a representative of Ant Financial told Reuters, but gave no further details.
Ant, valued at about $60 billion after a $4.5 billion funding round last April, is set for an initial public offering (IPO), though the firm has not specified a timeframe or listing venue.
With 450 million users of its Alipay payment service, Ant is making a concerted push to expand its presence overseas.
Last month, the firm said it would acquire U.S. money-transfer company MoneyGram for about $880 million. It has also invested in Indian mobile payment and e-commerce website Paytm and Thai financial technology firm Ascend Money.
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