- REUTERS - Nov 3, 2020 -
HONG KONG/NEW YORK (Reuters) - China suspended Ant Group’s $37 billion listing on Tuesday, thwarting the world’s largest stock market debut with just days to go in a dramatic blow to the financial technology firm founded by billionaire Jack Ma.
The Shanghai stock exchange said it had suspended the company’s initial public offering (IPO) on its tech-focused STAR Market, prompting Ant to also freeze the Hong Kong leg of its dual listing scheduled for Thursday.
This followed a meeting with China’s financial regulators on Monday during which Ma and his top executives were told that Ant’s lucrative online lending business would face tighter scrutiny, sources told Reuters.
The Shanghai bourse described Ant’s meeting with financial regulators as a “major event” which, along with a tougher regulatory environment, may cause Ant to be disqualified from listing.
In China, analysts interpreted the move as a slap down for Ma, who had wanted Ant to be treated as technology company rather than a highly regulated financial institution.
“The Communist Party has shown the tycoons who’s boss. Jack Ma might be the richest man in the world but that doesn’t mean a thing. This has gone from the deal of the century to the shock of the century,” Francis Lun, CEO of GEO Securities, said.