HONG KONG (Reuters) – Warburg Pincus LLC [WP.UL] is in talks to invest in a fundraising round for China’s Ant Financial Services Group [ANTFIN.UL] expected to be worth at least $8 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The New York-based private equity firm is one of several global and Chinese investors that the operator of China’s top online payment platform Alipay is talking to, they said, adding that Ant’s valuation may be as high as $150 billion after the round.
Strong demand from investors looking to position themselves ahead of Ant’s highly anticipated stock market flotation could result in funding of $8 billion to $10 billion, much higher than an initial target of up to $5 billion, one of the people said.
Warburg Pincus is the second big global name to be associated with the latest equity fundraising after Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings [TEM.UL], underscoring investor appreciation for the company’s rapid growth. Previous rounds were limited to domestic investors.
Both Warburg and Temasek are keen to be key investors. Temasek is likely to the lead investor, three sources have said. A separate source said it was unclear whether Warburg Pincus will end up leading the round along with Temasek.
All sources declined to be identified as the talks were confidential.
Ant, controlled by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) founder Jack Ma, declined to comment on the…