Ant investor Boyu Capital said to target $6b for new PE fund

Chinese private equity firm Boyu Capital, an investor in Chinese technology titans including billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group, is raising a new, China-focused fund targeting as much as $6 billion, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

Its fifth and largest U.S. dollar-denominated fund is likely to close in the near term, said one of the people, who declined to be identified as the information is confidential.

Boyu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The fundraising by a firm widely associated with tech startups amounts to a high-profile test of investor appetite at a time when heightened oversight of China’s tech giants clouds the near-term outlook of those companies.

It follows authorities’ November suspension of Ant‘s Shanghai and Hong Kong dual listing, which delayed the hefty returns early investors such as Boyu could have expected from the world’s biggest initial public offering (IPO).

The financial technology giant was set to raise $37 billion at a valuation of $315 billion. Since the suspension, China has sharpened oversight of its home-grown champions which has also exposed their investors to more public scrutiny.

A central bank official said Ant‘s IPO was suspended to safeguard consumers and investors. Ant has since agreed a restructuring plan with regulators, Reuters reported this month.

ALIBABA AID

Boyu was founded in 2010 by, among others, Alvin Jiang, grandson of former President Jiang Zemin. The firm has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore, and invests in consumer and retail, financial services, healthcare and media and technology sectors, its website showed.

It is known for its 2012 investment in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd which helped Ma buy back half of Yahoo! Inc’s 40% stake in the e-commerce firm, Reuters has reported.

At $6 billion, Boyu‘s new fund would be one of the region’s largest focusing on China. It last raised $3.6 billion in 2019.

Past investors include Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing and Singapore state investors Temasek Holdings Ltd and GIC Pte Ltd, Reuters has reported. The New York Common Retirement Fund has also been an investor, showed the website of the state comptroller.

Private equity managers in Asia raised $108 billion for 481 new funds last year, down 45% by dollar value from 2019, showed Preqin data, as the COVID-19 pandemic dampened fundraising.

Activity has picked up in 2021 with $21 billion raised via 56 funds so far, the data showed.

TECH INVESTMENTS

Boyu invested in Ant‘s $4.5 billion fundraising in 2016 and $14 billion funding round two years later. In the interim, Ant‘s valuation leapt from $60 billion to $150 billion.

The private equity firm has invested in other booming Chinese tech and healthcare startups in recent years that generated lucrative returns,two of the people said.

Portfolio firms include ride-hailer Didi Chuxing, artificial intelligence (AI) firm MegVii and live-streaming app operator Kuaishou Technology, according to media reports and public information.

In January, it participated in a $700 million fundraising by AI firm 4Paradigm, Dealogic data showed.

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.