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Alibaba’s Ant Financial Raising Money for Global Expansion

China’s most valuable online finance company is on an acquisition spree to build a global powerhouse stretching from India to Texas. To fund its overseas deals, Ant Financial Services Group—an affiliate of online shopping giant Alibaba Group—is in early discussions with bankers to raise more than $3 billion, possibly by issuing bonds or bank loans, according to a person familiar with the talks.

The fundraising talks come ahead of an initial public offering Ant Financial is separately planning, although the company hasn’t publicly discussed the timeline or potential venues for such an offering. Ant, whose Alipay payment service has 450 million users, was valued at roughly $60 billion in its latest equity fundraising last year, putting it above PayPal’s roughly $50 billion market capitalization. The company is controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

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Alipay, Ant Financial’s main service, was created in 2004 as Alibaba’s payment tool for its Chinese online marketplaces. But the business was later separated from Alibaba—an offshore entity incorporated in the Cayman Islands—and reincorporated in mainland China under Mr. Ma’s control. Alibaba has said the separation was aimed at ensuring that Alipay could obtain its Chinese payment license.  

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Ant Financial’s potential growth worldwide could make its IPO more attractive to investors.