Alibaba Aims for $9 Billion for Ant Financial

Alibaba Group (BABA) is looking to raise $9 billion in its latest round of funding for its affiliate financial services firm, Ant Financial, making it one of the world’s most valuable companies.

That funding would value Ant Financial at near $150 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited “people familiar with the matter." With that valuation, it would be worth more than large U.S. financial firms like BlackRock Inc. (BLK), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), and PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL). Ant Financial has not yet commented on the report. (See also: Alibaba’s Stock Is Undervalued: Raymond James.)

Enter the Unicorn

If the company went public, which it is planning to do, it would be the world’s largest “unicorn,” or a private company going public at more than $1 billion. So far, investors have already subscribed to more than $3 billion worth of its shares, the Journal reports.

Based in Hangzhou, China, Ant Financial owns Alipay, a mobile payments network and is one of the largest non-bank lenders in China. It was formed in 2011 when Alibaba spun-off Alipay, which it was using in connection with its online shopping.

In its last round of funding in April 2016, Ant Financial raised $4.5 billion, which gave it a valuation of $60 billion at the time. It has since regularly increased revenue and expanded its market share and service offerings for individuals and small businesses. Shares of Alibaba are up 57% in the past year.

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