MARKETS | Staff Reporter, Singapore

China halts Ant Group's $35b IPO: report

This may be the country’s way of showing Ma who’s the boss, says analyst.

With billions on the line, the world’s biggest initial public offering (IPO) was abruptly halted on 3 November—putting into doubt the future of Ant Group and its founder, the billionaire Jack Ma, reports Bloomberg.

Only days before the fintech giant was to go public in Shanghai and Hong Kong, the $35b IPO was cut short after Ma was summoned by regulators.

Authorities claimed that they had belatedly discovered an array of shortcomings that might require the sprawling Ant to be overhauled.

“The way I’d read it, it’s a deliberate public relations move,” said Sean Darby, chief global equity strategist at Jefferies. “This has happened before when companies appear to have become too big versus the state for the authorities’ liking.”

Reaction in the financial market was swift, with Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding—which owns a third of Ant—plunging 7.1% in Hong Kong and falling by the most in almost six years in New York. The sell-off reduced Ma’s fortune by almost $3b.

Here’s more from Bloomberg.

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