Chinese tycoon Jack Ma’s company Ant Financial raised around $14 billion in fresh funds from investors, including Temasek Holdings, GIC, the private equity firm Silver Lake, US private equity firm the Carlyle Group and several others, on Friday. Ant is best known for its mobile payment platform, Alipay, but also has key financial services including a money market fund.
Why is it being talked about?
- It has raised the bar for private equity funding, as this is the among the highest series C raise for a tech company.
- Takes the valuation of Ant to $150 billion, higher than the market capitalization of Goldman Sachs at $88 billion.
- Widely followed Mary Meeker had listed a market value of $150 billion for Ant Financial in her internet trends report earlier in the month, which ranked it as the ninth-largest internet company in the world.
With this infusion, Ant will give competitors like Tencent and WeChat Pay a run for their money. In China, many consumers use payment apps on their smartphones to buy goods ranging from computers to street food.
Ant Financial plans to use its new found capital to speed up Alipay’s international plans, and to develop technology and financial services to serve unbanked and underbanked consumers and small enterprises, while hiring in emerging markets.
The company grew out of Alipay, the digital payments system that was launched in 2004 and contributed significantly to Alibaba’s ability to succeed in e-commerce. When Alibaba went public in 2014, it officially launched Ant Financial through a spin-off. Alibaba was valued at $168 billion when it listed on the New York Stock four years ago.
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