It now appears that Chinese peer-to-peer lending giant Lufax has in fact raised around $1.2bn, some $300m more than had been suggested in reports from a fortnight ago.
On 8 January we believed, based on an investor document (written in Chinese) that Lufax had raised $900m in a round that valued the platform at $18.5bn. The valuation appears to be unchanged, but the actual amount of money raised – according to both Bloomberg and the FT – is $1.2bn. The cause of the confusion is perhaps that the platform’s “Series B” fundraise pulled in $924m from new investors, with a further $292m coming from existing investors.
Share purchasers in the round are said to include Bank of China Group Investment, Guotai Junan Securities Hong Kong, the investment arm of COFCO Group and a unit of Minsheng Bank. We understand that the round was many times oversubscribed. All of this comes ahead of a swell of rumours about a Lufax IPO, which may take place as early as the latter half of 2016. The platform reportedly intends to raise roughly $5bn through the listing, although that figure may well have swollen by the time the landmark public offering rolls around.
The exact picture on Lufax’s fundraising activities is often difficult to piece together, rife though the snippets of information are. What we know for sure is that the Series B fundraise is amongst the largest, if not the largest, private investment to have ever taken place within the alternative finance space. The nearest on record in size is SoFi’s $1bn round from August last year, which was led by SoftBank Group Corp. At that time, SoFi carried a valuation of around $4bn – less than a quarter of the Lufax price tag.
We’ll continue to collate what whispers we hear about the largest of China’s many peer-to-peer lending platforms.