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Ant Group raises $34b in world’s largest IPO

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Jack Ma’s Ant Group has just pulled off the biggest share sale in history, marking a huge win for the Chinese tech champion and the country’s stock market.

The tech company behind China’s largest online payments platform priced its dual listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Shanghai’s Star Market at 80 Hong Kong dollars ($10.32) and 68.8 yuan ($10.26) per share respectively.

That means the initial public offering will raise some $34.4 billion and value the company at more than $310 billion. The previous record for an IPO was held by Saudi state oil company Aramco, which raised $29.4 billion when it issued shares on the Riyadh exchange last December.

The share issue is a boon for Beijing, which has been encouraging the country’s top tech companies to list at home instead of on exchanges in the United States, where scrutiny of Chinese companies is rising as a long-running trade war rumbles on.

Beijing hopes the company’s decision to sell 1.67 billion shares in both Hong Kong and Shanghai, or about 11% of the company in total, will attract the seasoned institutional investors it has long courted. That strategy appears to be working.

Ant is closing its Hong Kong institutional book building, because of strong demand from global institutional investors. The Hong Kong shares were oversubscribed within the first hour of pricing.

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