Billionaire Jack Ma plans to cede control of Chinese group Ant – Reuters

Alibaba Group co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma attends the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China September 17, 2018. Picture taken September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/ File Photo/File Photo

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BEIJING/HONG KONG, July 28 (Reuters) – Chinese billionaire Jack Ma is considering divesting control of fintech firm Ant Group Co in a bid to spin off from its subsidiary Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the Wall Street reported on Thursday. Log.

Ant and Alibaba did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

Shares of U.S. e-commerce giant Alibaba fell 0.6% to $102.20 in premarket trading after briefly rising.

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While Ma only has a 10% stake in Ant, he exercises control over the company through related entities, according to Ant’s IPO prospectus. The Journal said it could cede control by transferring some of its voting rights to Ant officials, including chief executive Eric Jing, citing unnamed sources.

In April last year, Reuters reported that Ant Group was exploring options for Ma to divest its stake in the fintech giant and relinquish control.

Ma restructured his sprawling e-commerce and fintech empire following a sweeping regulatory crackdown on the industry that began in late 2020 when Chinese regulators derailed China’s planned $37 billion initial public offering. ‘Ant, which would have been the largest in the world.

Once outspoken, Ma has kept an extremely low public profile ever since, as regulators rein in the country’s tech giants after years of a hands-off approach that has driven skyrocketing growth.

The Wall Street Journal report said Ant informed officials of Ma’s intention as the company prepared to become a financial holding company, regulated by China’s central bank.

A change in control at Ant could slow relaunch plans for its long-awaited IPO, the Journal reported, as China’s A-share market forces companies to wait three years after a change in control to list. The wait is two years in the Shanghai STAR market, and one year in Hong Kong.

Earlier this week, Alibaba’s annual report revealed that Ant executives were no longer part of the Alibaba Partnership, a body that can appoint a majority of the e-commerce giant’s board, as the couple breaks up after Beijing crackdown. Read more

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Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bangalore; Written by Tony Munroe; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Elaine Hardcastle

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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