[BEIJING] Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's finance affiliate has completed a record US$4.5 billion equity fundraising round, according to two people familiar with the matter.
That surpassed an initial target set by Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group Co, controlled by billionaire Alibaba founder Jack Ma, and is the technology industry's largest private fundraising, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private.
Ant Financial, as the company is known, had aimed for at least US$3.5 billion at a valuation of US$60 billion and is considering an initial public offering on the Shanghai stock exchange as early as this year, other people have said.
The company runs China's biggest online payment service, Alipay, and controls the company that manages Yu'E Bao, the nation's largest money-market fund.
Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp and an investment vehicle of China Construction Bank Corp, the country's second largest lender, is also investing in this current round, people said in April.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co and China International Capital Corp are advising Ant Financial on its latest fundraising, the people said.
Ant Financial's micro lending business handled about 30 billion yuan (S$6.25 billion) of loans in January. More than 200 million users buy financial products through Ant Financial via services including Yu'E Bao and Zhao Cai Bao, a platform that lets small businesses and individuals borrow from investors, the company said in August.
Yang Xinyun, a spokeswoman for Ant Financial, declined to comment by phone. CIC's press office didn't reply to an e-mail seeking comment.