Alibaba founder Jack Ma has said the upcoming dual listing for Ant Financial is “the largest in human history,” according to Reuters.
Ma also noted that it’s the first time such a gargantuan deal has been conducted outside of New York City.
“We didn’t dare to think about it five years ago, or even three years ago. But a miracle just occurred,” he told an audience at the Bund Summit in the eastern financial hub of Shanghai. The audience included Chinese regulatory officials, Reuters writes.
The pricing is expected to be announced officially next week, but Ma didn’t provide any exact details on that.
Ant, which is backed by Alibaba, plans to list on both the Hong Kong market and on Shanghai’s STAR Market in the next few weeks. The deal might be worth as much as $35 billion, which would outpace the record set last year by Saudi Aramco for $29.4 billion.
Ma has criticized the financial and regulatory system in the past, saying they “stifle innovation,” according to Reuters. He wants to see a revamping of the system that would give small businesses more access to financial services, which is what Ant was based on. He called the system established in the post-World War II world “outdated and too risk-averse,” Reuters writes, and critiqued the “old man’s club” of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.
Ma said his preference was for a new, inclusive banking system where loans are made based on big data to small businesses and individuals.
Ant Group was said recently to be pondering a $280 billion minimum valuation for the double listing, a 12 percent hike from the previous amount speculated. The reason for the raise was a boost in demand, according to unnamed sources.
The dual listing recently cleared its last hurdle of approval when China’s top security regulator gave it the OK.