The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Chinese billionaire Jack Ma intends to give up control of Ant Group Co as part of the fintech giant’s effort to win over regulators after a protracted crackdown. According to Dow Jones, the transfer of control by Ma might delay Ant’s initial public offering by a year or more. The publication cited Chinese securities regulations that call for a suspension of public listings for businesses that have undergone a change of ownership.
Alibaba has not yet made any public comments about it. Before the bell, the company’s US-listed shares were trading down.
Ma, a 57-year-old former English teacher who is now one of China’s most well-known businessmen, has been the subject of government action that seems to have been taken to lessen his influence and the power of his firms.
Watch: Unconfirmed reports link Jack Ma to government probe, Alibaba’s shares fall 9% in Hong Kong
Since separating Ant’s antecedent assets from Alibaba more than ten years ago, he has had control over the company. Over time, he transformed it into a corporation that now controls the Alipay payments network, which has more than one billion users, as well as a sizable microlending operation and an investment platform that previously housed the largest money-market fund in the world. If Ant went public, its value was projected to exceed $300 billion.
Ma is a towering figure at Ant, owning 50.52 percent of the company’s shares through an entity in which he has a dominant position despite not holding an executive position or being on the board.
Some of the sources claimed that he may have given up control by giving up some of his voting rights to other Ant leaders, such as Chief Executive Eric Jing, so that they would then all have collective authority over the business.
According to a Reuters report from last year, Ant was looking into ways for Ma to give up control of and sell his interest in the leading financial technology company. Ant, a unit of Alibaba, has undergone a comprehensive restructuring by China after the country’s regulators halted its $37 billion initial public offering in late 2020. After the cancellation, Ant, which Ma controls, started a regulatory-driven reorganisation plan that would transform it into a financial holding company.
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