HONG KONG (Reuters) – Ant Group Co Ltd has received approval from China’s securities regulator for the Hong Kong leg of its roughly $35 billion dual listing, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday.
The Chinese financial technology firm plans to list in Hong Kong and on Shanghai’s STAR Market simultaneously in what could be the world’s largest initial public offering (IPO), surpassing Saudi Aramco’s 2222.SE $29.4 billion record set in December.
The firm plans to seek listing approval from Hong Kong’s stock exchange on Monday, said one of the people, who declined to be identified as the matter was not yet public.
Ant, backed by Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba Group Holding Ltd BABA.N9988.HK, declined to comment.
Refinitiv publication IFR reported the approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) earlier on Monday. It also said the CSRC is set to approve Ant’s Star Market IPO this week.
Ant plans to start a brief pre-marketing period this week before opening order books next week, IFR reported, saying Ant’s shares are likely to start trading “a few days” after the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election.
Ant originally aimed to meet Hong Kong’s bourse on Sept. 24 and launch the IPO after the week-long Chinese National Day holiday that ended on Oct. 8, sources previously told Reuters.
Last week, sources said the CSRC was probing a potential conflict of interest in the planned listing, delaying approval.
The regulator was looking into the role of Alipay, Ant’s flagship payment platform, as retail investors’ only third-party channel to buy into five Chinese funds investing in the IPO.
Ant aims to sell 10% to 15% of its enlarged share capital in the IPO, split evenly between Hong Kong and Shanghai. It does not plan to offer a cornerstone tranche in Hong Kong in anticipation of strong demand from institutional investors.
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