A Jack Ma company is poised to break the record for biggest IPO—again

August 21, 2020, 7:48 AM UTC

For the second time in six years, billionaire Jack Ma may see a company he founded break the record for the largest initial public offering in history.

Chinese fintech firm Ant Group is targeting a $225 billion valuation for dual listings in Hong Kong and Shanghai in what would be the biggest IPO ever, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources. Ant declined to comment.

Ant is an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which has a 33% stake in the fintech firm. Ma founded Alibaba and Ant, and both companies are headquartered in his hometown of Hangzhou.

In 2014, Alibaba debuted on the New York Stock Exchange and raised $25 billion, earning it the title of the biggest IPO in history and launching the Chinese tech giant onto the global stage.

Saudi Aramco broke Alibaba’s record in December 2019 when it listed and raised $25.6 billion; if Ant achieves its $30 billion target, it will surpass Aramco.

Ant, currently the world’s most valuable unicorn, aims to raise around $30 billion in simultaneous dual listings on the Hong Kong stock exchange and Shanghai’s Star market, and may float its shares as soon as October, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

Ant’s decision to list in Hong Kong and Shanghai rather than the U.S. is in line with a growing trend of Chinese companies opting for listings closer to home—including U.S.-listed Chinese firms pursuing secondary listings or delisting from the U.S. entirely—as political tensions between the U.S. and China spill into the finance and tech sectors.

U.S. regulatory scrutiny of Chinese companies has intensified in recent months, making the listing environment there more uncertain for Chinese companies looking to go public.

According to Alibaba’s Thursday earnings report, Ant made a profit of $1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2020. Ant owns the digital payments platform Alipay, which has 900 million users in China and over 1 billion worldwide.

Ma stepped down as executive chairman of Alibaba in 2018, saying he wanted to focus on philanthropy. He controls around 50% of the voting interest in Ant.