ANT's Secret Plan To Oust Jack Ma
April 18, 2021, 1:34:52 AM
Ant Group is exploring options for founder Jack Ma to divest his stake in the financial tech giant and relinquish control, as meetings with Chinese regulators pointed to the company that it could help draw a line under the scrutiny of Beijing's business, according to two people with close ties.
The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Ma offered to transfer part of Ant to the Chinese government at a meeting with Regulators in November.
The officials of the Central Bank (CBIRC), the People's Bank of China (PBOC), and the financial regulator of the Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission of China discussed the possibility of the tycoon's exit from the company according to sources familiar with the matter.
ANT denied any consideration of the divestiture of Ma's shares. "The disposal of Mr. Ma's stake in Ant Group has not been the subject of discussion with anyone," an ANT spokesperson said in a statement.
Ma's exit could help pave the way for Ant to revive the IPO plans, which stumbled after the mogul's speech, the two sources close to the company said.
Ant, which was set to raise around $ 37 billion in what would have been the world's largest initial public offering, aborted plans the day after Ma's November 2 meeting with regulators.
China's antitrust regulator fined Alibaba a record $ 2.75 billion on April 10 following an anti-monopoly investigation that found it had abused its dominant market position for several years.
Days later, the central bank asked Ant to become a financial holding company, subjecting it to the banking rules it had managed to avoid so far and allowing it to expand rapidly.
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