Chinese fintech and Alibaba-affiliated Ant Financial is preparing to launch a private funding round in order to secure up to $9 billion. According to various reports, the company is increasing the funding target from previous funding rounds that sought up to $5 billion. Ant Financial’s previous fundraising round was announced in April 2016 and secured $4.5 billion from Chinese investors.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the latest funding round may bring Ant Financial value to nearly $150 billion. The media outlet reported that if the company goes public with the $150 billion valuation, it may be worth more than various U.S. financial firms such as Goldman Sachs and even PayPal.
The news of the upcoming funding round comes nearly six months after Ant Financial revealed it was putting its Initial Public Offering (IPO) plans on hold to focus on investing in more startups and artificial intelligence. At the time, Ant Financial’s President of International Business, Douglas Feagin, revealed that the IPO “is not a necessity or a priority.” He stated:
“It is the time now to deploy artificial intelligence in ways that are much more sophisticated than we’ve ever done: the technology is there, the data is there, [as is] the receptivity of consumers.”
Ant Financial also experienced some bumps in the road since the beginning of 2018, with recently being blocked by the U.S government from acquiring MoneyGram and decided to halt all asset-backed securities lending after China made the decision to restrict micro-loans. The company also announced last week that its executive chairman, Lucy Peng, stepped down from the role. She was the company’s previous CEO. The current CEO Eric Jing, has assumed a new role as chairman following Peng’s departure.
Ant Financial describes itself as a technology company with a mission to bring the world equal opportunities in finance. It is dedicated to creating an open, shared credit system and financial service platform through technology innovations, and provide consumers/small businesses with safe and convenient inclusive financial services globally. The company has invested more than $16 billion in over 50 startups.