Ant Group’s $35b IPO unlikely to be hurt by possible US curbs

Ant Group’s $35 billion initial public offering (IPO) is unlikely to suffer from any U.S. restrictions on the Chinese financial technology giant due to its very limited overseas presence, potential investors and analysts said.

U.S. President Donald Trump is considering curbs on Ant, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba, and Tencent over concerns their payment platforms threaten national security, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.

If implemented, the restrictions would illustrate how Trump’s administration is seeking to prevent Chinese companies from embedding themselves in the U.S. financial system before they become a significant competitive threat.

Ant said it was not aware of any discussions within the administration about restrictions. Tencent and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ant is working towards a dual-listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong possibly as soon as this month in what sources have said could be the world’s largest IPO, surpassing oil giant Saudi Aramco’s $29.4 billion float in December.

Ant‘s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat payment platforms are used primarily by Chinese citizens with accounts in renminbi. Most of their U.S. interactions are with merchants accepting payments from Chinese travelers and businesses in the country.

“Basically the overseas revenue accounts for maybe 5% or less for Ant Group. That means for the U.S. revenue contribution it would be even less than that,” said Morningstar senior equity analyst Chelsey Tam.

“I’m sure investors will ask about it during the roadshow but it’s quite easy for investors to understand that if Alipay and Wechat Pay go overseas the U.S. is probably not the top priority,” Tam said.

Ant, which makes 95% of its revenue in China, is seeking to raise about $35 billion in an IPO after assessing early investor interest and based on a valuation of about $250 billion or more, Reuters has reported.

An official at a state-backed Chinese fund, a potential investor in an Ant IPO, said he was not worried about the planned U.S. restrictions as the market only accounted for a tiny portion of the company’s overall business.

The official declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

“The ban is more about stopping Ant from expanding in the U.S. in the future, but that shouldn’t have an immediate impact on the valuation as there is lot more growth left for Ant in China,” said LightStream Research analyst Supun Walpola, who publishes on the Smartkarma platform.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.