Ant Group Suspends IPO
It was just last week when Ant Group stole headlines after it was revealed retail investors placed orders for $3 trillion worth of shares for its IPO. The dual listing IPO was slated to be the largest ever, raising about $34.4 billion and easily surpassing Saudi Aramco’s $29.4 billion listing last December.
Ant Group had a "miracle" take place to get the valuation, according to Jack Ma, who is the founder of Alibaba, which owns a 33% stake in Ant Group.
"It's the first time that the pricing of such a big listing — the largest in human history — has been determined outside New York City” Ma said last month. "We didn't dare to think about it five years ago, or even three years ago. But a miracle just occurred."
Other comments Ma made last month such as calling the Basel Accords an "old people's club" and saying Chinese banks are like “pawn shops" have caught the attention of Chinese authorities. Ma and Ant Group executives were summoned by Chinese regulators including the central bank and banking watchdog for a joint supervisory interview on Monday.
Yesterday, the miracle IPO hit a brick wall when the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges suspended the listing. The Shanghai Stock Exchange cited the previous day's meeting Ma and Ant Group executives had with the China Securities Regulatory Commission as to why the listing was suspended.
The exchange said Ant reported "significant issues such as the changes in financial technology regulatory environment," according to a translation by CNBC. "These issues may result in your company not meeting the conditions for listing or meeting the information disclosure requirements."
Ant Group said it pulled the Hong Kong listing after it was told by the Shanghai Stock Exchange that their IPO would be delayed.
"We will properly handle the follow-up matters in accordance with applicable regulations of the two stock exchanges," Ant Group said in a statement. "We will overcome the challenges and live up to the trust on the principles of: stable innovation; embrace of regulation; service to the real economy; and win-win cooperation."
The news caused shares of Alibaba to drop more than 8% as the company said it will "be proactive in supporting Ant Group to adapt to and embrace the evolving regulatory framework."
All eyes will now be on Jack Ma to see if he can undo the damage and get the record-setting IPO back on track.
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