Billionaire Jack Ma to relinquish control of Ant Group

Billionaire Jack Ma to relinquish control of Ant Group

Although some analysts have claimed that a transfer of control could clear the way for the company to reactivate its IPO, the changes announced by the group, however, are likely to result in a further delay due to regulations.

China’s domestic A-share market requires companies to wait three years after a change of control to list. The wait is two years in the Shanghai STAR market and one year in Hong Kong.

Ma, a former English teacher, previously held more than 50% of the voting rights in Ant, but the changes will see his stake fall to 6.2%, according to Reuters calculations.

Ma only owns a 10% stake in Ant, a subsidiary of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd 9988.HK, but has exercised control over the company through related entities, according to Ant’s IPO prospectus filed with exchanges. in 2020.

Hangzhou Yunbo, an investment vehicle of Ma, had control of two other entities that hold a combined 50.5% stake in Ant, according to the prospectus.

Ma’s handover of control comes as Ant nears completion of its two-year regulatory-driven restructuring, and Chinese authorities are about to fine the company more than $1 billion, according to Reuters reported in November.

The long-awaited sanction is part of Beijing’s unprecedented crackdown on the country’s tech titans over the past two years, which has reduced their value by hundreds of billions of dollars and dented their revenue and profits.

Ant operates the ubiquitous Chinese mobile payment app Alipay, the world’s largest, with more than 1 billion users.

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Written by Editor TLN

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