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Jack Ma's Ant receives China approval for IPO in Shanghai

[BEIJING] Jack Ma's Ant Group got the green light from China's securities watchdog for its initial public offering in Shanghai, clearing another hurdle as the Chinese fintech giant tries to complete what could be the biggest share sale ever seen.

China's securities regulator approved the listing on Shanghai's STAR market, according to a post on China Securities Regulatory Commission's official Weibo account. Ant is seeking to raise US$35 billion in a dual listing and is said to have earlier won approval from the Hong Kong stock exchange for an IPO.

Hangzhou-based Ant will issue no more than 1.67 billion shares in China, equivalent to 5.5 per cent of total outstanding before the greenshoe, according to its prospectus. It will issue the same amount for its Hong Kong share sale. The company will begin to gauge investor demand for the Hong Kong offering on Thursday, according to terms of the sale seen by Bloomberg News.

After the greenshoe, Ant will issue no more than 1.92 billion shares in China, representing 6.22 per cent of total outstanding shares post IPO, it said. Ant will price shares on 0ct 27 and allow subscriptions on Oct 29. The deadline for payments will be Nov 2.

Ant's IPO could surpass Saudi Aramco's record US$29 billion sale last year.

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The tech giant could have an IPO valuation of at least US$280 billion, people familiar have said, making it bigger than Bank of America and three times the size of Citigroup.

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