It is rumored that Ant Financial, the financial services arm spun-off of China’s tech giant Alibaba, is planning a dual listing IPO of both A-shares and H-shares. A-shares are listed on mainland exchanges like Shanghai and Shenzhen while H-shares are listed in Hong Kong.
Reports of Ant Financial’s IPO plan have been reappearing since its parent company Alibaba’s secondary Hong Kong listing. The restructuring in September and the management reshuffle in December last year gave rise to widespread speculation that the IPO is imminent. Investment banks CICC and Credit Suissue have been reportedly working on the preparation of the IPO for a while now.
Ant Financial responded “no plans, no timetable” to the IPO rumor. But they also reposted the alleged news and commented on its official weibo account, “There are always warm-hearted friends helping us make plans. But there really isn’t.”
In September 2019, Alibaba purchased 33% of Ant Financial, which was believed as a major step towards a long-awaited IPO for the online financial services company.
Setting the price at HK$176 ($22.50) per share and raising around HK$88 billion ($11.2 billion), Alibaba’s secondary share offering that began trading on November 26 is the biggest equity offering in Hong Kong Stock Exchange history. The stock’s strong performance also incurs the expectation that more of the conglomerate’s affiliate companies will go public.
At the end of last year, Simon Hu replaced Eric Jing to lead the unicorn company among a series of management changes. The 49-year-old Alibaba veteran Hu now reports directly to Jing who remains executive chairman if Ant Financial.