Saudi PIF eyes stake in Alibaba’s Ant Group

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Ant Group
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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is reportedly considering a potential investment in the initial public offering (IPO) of the world’s highest-valued FinTech company, China-based Ant Group.

Ant, which is touted as the nation’s dominant mobile payments firm has filed for a dual listing in Hong Kong and on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR Market last month setting up the stage for what could be the world’s biggest IPO.

Reports suggest that Alibaba’s fintech arm could gather as much as $30 billion from the offer if market conditions allow making it a bigger IPO than oil giant Saudi Aramco’s $29.4 billion offer last December.

The Saudi sovereign fund was reportedly approached by Ant through its advisors to consider investing in the deal. If the investment goes ahead, it would be the fund’s most high profile direct investment in a Chinese company.

Ant’s Initial Public Offer 

Ant’s initial public offering would be the first simultaneous listing in Hong Kong and the year-old STAR Market, boosting Hong Kong’s status as an international IPO market and helping enhance STAR as a capital markets center.

Public Investment Fund 

With assets over $300 billion, PIF has been largely pouring funds in the United States, but recently it has been looking for better investment opportunities in Asia and has decided to make a $1.49 billion investment in India’s Reliance Industries’ digital unit Jio Platform.

Earlier, PIF’s head Yasir al-Rumayyan has told media that the fund has its eye on China as it expands international investments.

Since becoming a more active investor in 2015, PIF has made some bold steps to raise its profile on the global stage. It took a $3.5 billion stake in Uber Technologies and invested $45 billion in Softbank’s inaugural technology fund.