Last month, Ant Group had announced the biggest stock debut made by any company in history worth $34 billion, with a dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong. However, it looks like the Jack Ma led fintech giant has run into some problems with regulators in its homeland China, as the Shanghai stock exchange has announced a suspension of the IPO today.
“In accordance with Article 26 of the “Administrative Measures for the Registration and Administration of Initial Public Offerings on the Science and Technology Innovation Board (for Trial Implementation)” and Article 60 of the “Shanghai Stock Exchange Rules for the Review of Stock Issuance and Listing”, and soliciting the opinions of sponsors, the Exchange has decided Your company is suspended from listing,” Shanghai Stock exchange said.
This comes just a few days after Jack Ma participated in a meeting with financial regulators, where the changes in the country’s fintech environment were discussed. These changes were referred as a “major event” by the Shanghai stock exchange, which could lead to Ant Group failing to meet the issuance and listing conditions or information disclosure requirements.
“Ant Group was notified by the Shanghai Stock Exchange today that our A share listing plan on the Shanghai Stock Exchange would be suspended. Consequently, Ant has decided that the concurrent H share listing plan on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange shall also be suspended. Ant Group sincerely apologizes to you for any inconvenience caused by this development. We will properly handle the follow-up matters in accordance with applicable regulations of the two stock exchanges,” the company said.
An article by Economic Daily, an official Communist Party newspaper, praised the decision, saying that “Every market participant must respect and revere the rules — no exceptions.” That pretty much outlines the Chinese philosophy, no matter how big and revolutionary you are, it is ultimately the country’s communist government that is in-charge, a stance against which Jack Ma has been pretty vocal off late.
Ant Group’s IPO was scheduled to be the biggest ever by any company, as the company had planned to raise a gargantuan sum of $34 billion through a dual listing on NASDAQ styled Shanghai Stock Exchange STAR Market and Hong Kong’s stock market on November 5. This was hailed as China’s first step to a stock market that could rival the U.S. In fact, Jack Ma told the Bund Summit in Shanghai on Saturday, “This was the first time such a big listing, the largest in human history, was priced outside New York City. We wouldn’t have dared to think about it for five years, or even three years ago.”
However, it looks like the billionaire’s words have come back to haunt him, as Alibaba, the biggest name on his portfolio, has taken a major hit from the recent announcement, losing more money in stocks than Ant Group’s entire IPO.