China has halted the $37 billion Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Alibaba Holding (NYSE:BABA) affiliated company Ant Group a day after regulators grilled its founder Jack Ma. The suspension has cast uncertainty regarding the financial-tech company’s future and delivered a shocking rebuke to Ma.
Regulators halt Ant Group’s IPO
The Shanghai Stoke Exchange halted the Ant Group IPO, which was the biggest IPO in the world on Tuesday. This comes following Ma’s grilling and the company’s two top executives on Monday in a closed-door meeting. The highly anticipated listing, which was expected on Thursday on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Shanghai Stoke Exchange, has been brought to question by financial regulators that include the PBOC.
Ant’s move to go public could have shown how the company has brought credit, payments, and investing online. According to the company, during the meeting, there was a sharing of views about the financial sector’s stability and health. A statement from Ant said that it is committed to implementing the opinions of the meeting.
Changes in financial technology regulation led to the halt of IPO
A statement from the Shanghai Stock Exchange stated that Ma, the company’s controlling shareholder, has been summoned for “supervisory interviews.” Other issues that resulted in the suspension of the IPO include a change in the financial tech regulatory environment. The exchange indicated that such a material event can fail to meet the listing and issuance conditions or disclosure information requirements. As a result, the exchange decided to postpone the listing.
Established in 2004 as an arm of Alibaba, Ant Group was spun in 2014, and since then, its businesses have grown tremendously. The company has challenged the dominance of state-run banks and financial institutions in China, and now regulators may be wary about Ant’s fast growth in some areas. There are concerns that it could be too big to rescue in case of a meltdown. Ant has pivoted and used its finances to extend credit, and currently its acts as an agent between banks and borrowers.