Billionaire Jack Ma plans to cede management of China’s Ant Group – WSJ

Alibaba Group co-founder and govt chairman Jack Ma attends the World Synthetic Intelligence Convention (WAIC) in Shanghai, China, September 17, 2018. Image taken September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Music/File Picture/File Picture

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HONG KONG/BEIJING, July 28 (Reuters) – Chinese language billionaire Jack Ma plans to cede management of Ant Group, the Wall Road Journal reported on Thursday, after a regulatory crackdown that scuppered its $37 billion IPO in 2020 and led to a pressured restructuring of the monetary know-how behemoth.

Whereas Ma solely owns a ten% stake in Ant, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (9988.HK), he workouts management over the corporate via associated entities, in keeping with Ant’s IPO prospectus filed with the exchanges in 2020.

Hangzhou Yunbo, an funding car for Ma, has management over two different entities that personal a mixed 50.5% stake of Ant, the prospectus confirmed.

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The Journal stated, citing unnamed sources, that Ma might cede management by transferring a few of his voting energy to Ant officers together with Chief Government Eric Jing.

Ant has knowledgeable regulators of Ma’s intention because it prepares to restructure right into a monetary holding firm, the report stated, including regulators didn’t demand the change however have given their blessing.

Ant and Alibaba didn’t instantly reply to Reuters requests for remark.

Shares in US-listed e-commerce large Alibaba slipped 1.2% to $101.51 in premarket commerce after briefly leaping increased.

In April final yr, Reuters reported that Ant was exploring choices for Ma to divest his stake in Ant and quit management.

The discussions at the moment got here amid a revamp of Ant and a broader state clampdown on China’s know-how sector that was set in movement after Ma’s public criticism of regulators in a speech in October 2020.

Ant’s IPO, which might have been the world’s largest, was derailed days after the speech and Ma’s sprawling empire has been below regulatory scrutiny and going via a restructuring since then.

Ant operates the world’s largest and China’s ubiquitous cellular fee app Alipay, which has greater than 1 billion customers.

As soon as outspoken, Ma has saved a particularly low public profile as regulators reined within the nation’s know-how giants after years of a laissez-faire strategy that drove breakneck progress.

“It has been on the playing cards for some time,” stated Danny Hewson, monetary analyst at AJ Bell.

“There shall be some who will assume that probably this clears the best way for Ant to place the previous few years behind it and attempt to get out on the entrance foot. There shall be others who shall be deeply involved about what comes subsequent as a result of Jack Ma has been such a powerhouse.”

A change in management at Ant might gradual plans to revive its long-sought IPO, the Journal reported, as China’s home A-share market requires corporations to attend three years after a change in management to record.

The wait is 2 years on Shanghai’s STAR market, and one yr in Hong Kong.

Earlier this week, Alibaba’s annual report revealed that Ant executives are not a part of Alibaba Partnership, a physique that may nominate nearly all of the e-commerce large’s board, because the pair decouple to appease regulators. learn extra

Ant and Alibaba are additionally untangling their operations from one another and independently searching for new enterprise, Reuters reported final month, citing sources. learn extra

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Reporting by Julie Zhu, Scott Murdoch, Samuel Shen, Josh Horwitz, Selena Lee, Susan Mathewa and Akash Sriram; Writing by Tony Munroe and Sumeet Chatterjee; Enhancing by Arun Koyyur and Elaine Hardcastle

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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