Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial Services plans to raise up to US$5 billion in a new funding round, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The company is in talks to pick advisers for a new equity placement which will bolster its financial position as it weighs an initial public offering, the paper said, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Ant Financial last raised funds in April 2016, when it secured US$4.5 billion from a group of investors that included China Investment Corp, Primavera Capital and some Chinese state-owned banks and insurers.
The deal valued Ant then at about US$60 billion.
The latest round is likely to kick off in one or two months and could value the firm at about US$100 billion, the paper suggests, echoing a report published earlier by Reuters.
Ant Financial began life as a payment system carved out of Alibaba in 2011 during the run-up to the e-commerce giant’s IPO. It now provides an array of consumer-oriented financial services, including small loans, the Journal noted.
Ant Financial has made other moves that could indicate preparations for a listing. It said this month that Alibaba would acquire a 33 percent stake in the financial-technology platform.
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