Jack Ma’s Ant Financial raising under $3 billion of debt to fund deals

Jack Ma

Ant Financial, the parent of China’s largest online payment service, is seeking to raise less than $3 billion by issuing debt to fund its acquisitions, people familiar with the matter said.

Ant Financial is raising the money to partly finance its $880 million purchase of MoneyGram International Inc. and other acquisitions, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private.

Controlled by billionaire Jack Ma, the online behemoth has been valued at $75 billion by CLSA Ltd. and is planning an initial public offering for as soon as 2017, people have said. It’s competing with China’s second largest internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd., owner of instant messaging application WeChat.

The company is drumming up its presence overseas via investments into India’s Paytm and Thailand’s Ascend Money, an arm of the agriculture-to-telecommunications conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group.

“It is the market practice for a globalized company like Ant Financial to raise debt in USD,” the company said in an e-mailed statement, declining to comment on any potential amount.

Formally known as Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group Co., the company serves more than 450 million customers and provides services from wealth management and insurance to credit checks and consumer loans. The company is the finance affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The Information earlier reported Ant Financial was raising more than $3 billion.



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