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Ant Financial Seeks Loan Up to $3.5 Billion at Lower Rate

Annie Lee and Lulu Yilun Chen

(Bloomberg) -- Ant Financial Services Group is seeking a syndicated loan of up to $3.5 billion at a lower rate, joining other Chinese technology giants in their bid to slash debt costs.

The company is in talks with lenders for a $2.5 billion financing that comes with a $1 billion greenshoe option, according to people familiar with the matter. The price talk for the three-year loan margin is less than 100 basis points over Libor, said the people, who are not authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified. The company didn’t immediately respond to emailed requests for comment.

Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial last came to the syndicated loan market in 2017, raising a $3.5 billion three-year facility that pays a margin of 135 basis points over Libor, according to Bloomberg data. The latest funding plan comes amid a refinancing spree for Asian tech firms as they take advantage of abundant liquidity from lenders in the wake of fewer loan deals in the region.

Smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. is in talks for a $1 billion refinancing at its lowest rate after Chinese social media giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. clinched its biggest and cheapest dollar-based facility in August. Ant Financial’s affiliate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. completed an amendment and extension of its $4 billion loan in May.

Ant’s new loan, if completed, will be used for general corporate purposes, the people said. The company is formally known as Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group Co.

--With assistance from Apple Lam and Carol Zhong.

To contact the reporters on this story: Annie Lee in Hong Kong at olee42@bloomberg.net;Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at ychen447@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Neha D'silva at ndsilva1@bloomberg.net, Chan Tien Hin

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