Stocks Plunge; Record $34 Billion Ant IPO in Works

U.S. stocks took a major hit on Monday as the weekend brought bad news on two fronts: domestic and global virus cases are once again rising meaningfully, and a second major fiscal relief bill doesn’t look likely anytime soon.

In truth, the political dysfunction behind the stalled stimulus package has been on full display for months. What’s far more alarming is the swift rise in virus cases; the U.S. just set a record high in its seven-day average of new cases — that figure is approaching 69,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And Europe’s recent trend is also alarming.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 650 points, or 2.3%, to finish at 27,685 on Monday.

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Ant planning record $34 billion IPO. Ant Group, the world’s most valuable fintech company, filed plans for a dual-initial public offering on Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges, bypassing the U.S. markets to raise more than $17 billion from investors in each Asian financial hub.

At those prices, the sprawling Ant, which is partially owned by Alibaba (ticker: BABA) and which operates mobile payment platform Alipay — will be valued at more than $310 billion, and the money raised in its public offering would surpass the $29.4 billion Saudi Aramco raised to become the largest IPO in history.

Dunkin’ takeover talk. Dunkin’ Brands Group ( DNKN), the company behind Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, saw shares jump 16.2% on Monday as the stock evaded the wider bloodbath in markets. The privately owned holding company Inspire Brands, which also owns Arby’s, Jimmy John’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic Drive-In, is in talks to acquire the “coffee and donut” chain.

Inspire Brands has reportedly offered to take Dunkin’ private for $106.50 a share, a 20% premium to DNKN’s close on Friday.

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