Alibaba's Ant Financial Services closes a record $4.5 billion Series B round, plans to IPOHarshith Mallya
Alibaba Group's affiliate Ant Financial Services announced on Tuesday that it had closed a $4.5 billion Series B funding round, according to a Reuter's report. China Investment Corp Capital and CCB Trust, a subsidiary of China Construction Bank Corp, participated in the fund raise, Ant Financial said in a statement to Reuters. Existing Ant Financial shareholders, China Life Insurance Co Ltd , China Post Group, the parent of Postal Savings Bank of China, also took part in the round.
Ant Financial Services is well known globally for its Alipay payment platform. Since being split off from Alibaba, Ant has expanded from an online-payment platform to online wealth-management and banking.
With this $4.5 billion funding round, Ant Financial Services has broken the previous record of $3.3 billion, which Chinese food delivery and group buying company Meituan-Dianping had raised earlier in January 2016. It is now estimated to be largest private tech funding round for an internet company.
Ant Financial did not say what the company's valuation was with the closure of this round, but WSJ estimates it to be roughly around $60 billion. For comparison, many reports claim that cab aggregator Uber would be valued at $62.5 billion(or more) after closing its current round of funding.
Going forward Ant Financial is planning a number of acquisitions in domestic IT infrastructure and rural-financial services, as well as overseas, Ant Financial's Vice President Cyril Han told WSJ. These acquistions could prove beneficial for India's Paytm, which had raised a $500 million tranche round from Alibaba and existing investor- Ant Financial Services (initial investment in Paytm in February 2015 for 25 percent equity).
Ant Financial Services had earlier confirmed to Reuters about its plans for an IPO but added that it didn't have a timeline for the process. Eric Jing, Ant Financial's President, said in a statement
The capital raised in Series B will allow us to invest in the infrastructure, such as cloud computing and risk control(biometric verification technologies), that will underpin our long-term growth in rural and international markets.