Ant Group Chinese Icarus
In a “shock move” this week, the Chinese authorities put the stoppers on Ant Group’s $37bn float, just two days before the fintech giant founded by billionaire Jack Ma was set to stage the world’s largest initial public offering, said Lulu Yilun Chen and Richard Frost on Bloomberg. The Shanghai stock exchange suspended its leg […]

In a “shock move” this week, the Chinese authorities put the stoppers on Ant Group’s $37bn float, just two days before the fintech giant founded by billionaire Jack Ma was set to stage the world’s largest initial public offering, said Lulu Yilun Chen and Richard Frost on Bloomberg. The Shanghai stock exchange suspended its leg of the duallisting, citing “significant change” in the regulatory environment. Shortly after, the Hong Kong leg was also suspended. Shares in Ma’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, which owns about a third of Ant, plunged 9%. The news also hit overall sentiment in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng index has been soaring on the prospect of Ant’s blockbuster float. The move is a “huge blow” for Ma, said Business Insider (India), but it wasn’t entirely unexpected. The entrepreneur had earlier been summoned to a meeting with China’s central bank and warned that Ant – which dominates China’s payments market via its Alipay app, and was set to be valued at around $315bn – faced “increased scrutiny”. Some observed that Ma had been riding for a fall. He recently took the risky step of criticising China’s state-owned banks for their “pawnshop mentality”, said the FT. But given the huge international interest – and the billions already locked in from investors – few had anticipated quite such a brutal snub.