HONG KONG, Sept 18 (Reuters) - China's Ant Group has
received approval from the Shanghai Stock Exchange for a
domestic initial public offering, the bourse said on Friday,
bringing the financial technology firm closer to a dual-listing
expected to be worth up to $30 billion.
Backed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Ant
plans to list simultaneously in Hong Kong and on Shanghai's STAR
Market, in what sources have said could be the world's largest
IPO and come as soon as October.
The company is planning to seek listing approval from the
Hong Kong Stock Exchange as early as next week, said two people
with direct knowledge of the matter.
Ant aims to open books after China's week-long National Day
holiday on October 1-7 and go public around the end of next
month, said the sources, who declined to be identified due to
The timetable has not yet been finalised and is subject to
change, they cautioned.
Ant declined to comment on the timetables of the hearing and
deal launch. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange declined to comment on
individual companies or listing applications.
Under local rules, once Ant passes the STAR Market listing
committee's hearing, it can register the flotation with the
securities regulator and wait for the registration to be
accepted. It would then start the pricing consultation process.
Ant, controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, had addressed
questions raised by the Shanghai exchange over its planned IPO,
as per disclosures on the bourse website last week.
The bourse had sought explanations about Ant's relationship
with Alibaba, the impact of regulatory changes on its business,
and comparable peers in domestic and overseas markets.
Reuters last week reported that Singapore state investor
Temasek Holdings and sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd as well
as Saudi Arabia's sovereign fund PIF were weighing potential
investments in Ant's IPO.
(Reporting by Julie Zhu; editing by Jason Neely)