August 4, 2021


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China stops the biggest IPO ever

China stops the biggest IPO ever

For Jack Ma, the decision is a firm fixture: the IPO would bring him $ 27 billion.

Photo: AFP

The Chinese authorities suddenly stopped the Ant Group mega-exchange. The financial services provider of the Chinese online shop group Alibaba would collect almost 35 billion US dollars on the stock exchanges in Shanghai and Hong Kong on Thursday. That would make it the biggest ever IPO for Saudi Aramco, a Saudi oil company (worth more than $ 29 billion).

The authorities cite “changes in regulations” as the reason for the block, without explaining this further. It was already known that Chinese regulators had problems with the Ant Group, as a “fintech”, not being subject to the same strict rules as traditional banks. Although there may be more. On Monday, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, was invited to an extraordinary meeting with the Chinese central bank and three other financial regulators. Ma recently criticized governments and financial authorities at home and abroad. He believes that they suppress innovation and do not pay enough attention to development opportunities for young people.

Alibaba, Jack Ma’s group, which owns a 33 percent stake in Ant, fell 10 percent on Wall Street in an initial response to the news. For Jack Ma, who stepped down as chairman of Alibaba last September, the decision is a heavy blow to the bill. He owns 8.8 percent of Ant shares and would increase his wealth by $ 27 billion if it went public.