Changes to the fintech regulatory environment may have resulted in Ant Group failing to meet listing and information disclosure requirements, according to Shanghai Stock Exchange.
Photo from CFP.
By MIAO Yiwei
On November 3, Shanghai Stock Exchange temporarily suspended Ant Group’s impending $35 billion STAR market IPO, scheduled for Nov.5. The announcement came after regulators summoned Ant Group executives, including Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, which controls 33 percent of Ant Group shares.
“Major changes in the financial technology regulatory environment” were cited as the reason for the postponed listing. According to a stock exchange statement, Ant Group may not be able to meet listing or disclosure requirements. Ant Group put out a statement shortly afterward announcing the suspension and promising to follow up with stakeholders “in a timely manner.”
The company also put the Hong Kong listing on hold. HKSE confirmed receipt of Ant Group’s notice but declined to comment. In response to inquiries from Jiemian News, the exchange said Hong Kong remains the most active IPO market in Asia, and that it will continue to welcome issuers and investors from the region and around the world. More than 120 companies have been listed this year and a number of Chinese firms, some already foreign-listed, are awaiting IPO approval.
The abrupt suspension has sent shivers of uncertainty and speculation rippling across the investment world. Alibaba shares dropped more than 6 percent in Tuesday morning trading in New York.
An Op-Ed in China Economy Daily said the decision on the ground that it would protect consumer and investor rights. In a later statement to investors, Ant Group said the company would follow-up in accordance with regulations and continue its commitment to serving small businesses and investors. The company also said it will return the application money to the investors.