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Alibaba payments affiliate Ant Financial seeking to raise $3 billion in debt to fund global acquisitions

Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma.
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Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma.

Ant Financial, the Alibaba affiliate which runs the Chinese payment service Alipay, is in talks to raise around $3 billion in debt to fund international investments and acquisitions, a source close to the matter has told CNBC.

The Chinese financial technology firm is raising the money in dollars rather than renminbi so it can fund the $880 million purchase of U.S. payments firm MoneyGram, as well as other international companies, the source said.

"It is market practice for a globalized company like Ant Financial to raise debt in USD," a spokesperson told CNBC, without confirming the amount being raised.

Debt issuing is essentially borrowing money and differs from equity financing where investors may take a stake in the company. Ant Financial's $4.5 billion funding round last year, which CNBC reported, valued the firm at around $60 billion. This was raised in renminbi from a number of Chinese investors, but now raising the debt in dollars will make it easier for Ant to make overseas acquisitions.

The company has been on a drive to internationalize over the past year, expanding into Europe, the U.S. and other parts of Asia. As part of this move, it has invested in a number of companies including Thailand's Ascend Money and India's Paytm.

Ant Financial could go public as early as this year, although no firm timeline has been set, a source previously told CNBC.