By Stella Yifan Xie and Julie Steinberg
HONG KONG--Jack Ma's financial-technology giant has solidified its position as one of the world's most valuable private companies.
China's Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group Co. on Friday said it raised around $14 billion from domestic and global investors in one of the largest private-capital raises on record.
The share sale--Ant's third in three years--was met with strong demand and drew many high-profile investors who are expecting Ant to go public in the next year or two.
The funding round valued Ant at around $150 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. It also marks the first time foreign investors could buy stakes in the Hangzhou-based company.
Foreign investors included Singapore and Malaysia's sovereign-wealth funds, as well as global private-equity funds Warburg Pincus, Carlyle Group LP, Silver Lake, General Atlantic and Primavera Capital. Mutual fund giant T. Rowe Price and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board also participated in what Ant said was a U.S. dollar-denominated tranche of its financing raised by an offshore subsidiary.
Existing Chinese investors in Ant provided funds for a yuan-denominated tranche the round, the company said. Ant raised $11 billion in the U.S. dollar portion of its fundraising and $3 billion from domestic investors, and both tranches were oversubscribed, according to people familiar with the matter.
Investors who bought stakes in Ant had to commit to some unusual terms--such as agreeing not to provide capital to Ant and Alibaba's major rivals, including startups backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd. and online retailer JD.com Inc., The Wall Street Journal previously reported.
Ant, which was carved out from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in 2011, owns and operates Alipay, China's largest online and mobile payments network. The company has large consumer and small-business lending operations, oversees the world's largest money-market mutual fund and runs a fast-growing technology-services business. Ant has grown rapidly in recent years by providing financial services to people and companies that traditional banks have ignored. Mr. Ma, who founded the company, is its controlling shareholder.
Eric Jing, Ant's executive chairman and CEO, said in a statement that Ant plans to "accelerate" its growth strategy and the company will continue to invest in technology to provide financial services to more people and small businesses in China and abroad.
In the year to March 2018, Ant said Alipay and its global partners together served around 870 million "annual active users" globally and more than 15 million small businesses in China.
Ant's previous funding round in the summer of 2016 valued the company at $60 billion. Last year Ant reported $2 billion in pretax profits, but posted a first-quarter loss early this year because of heavy spending on marketing and customer-acquisition costs.
Write to Stella Yifan Xie at [email protected] and Julie Steinberg at [email protected]