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Jack Ma To Relinquish Control Of Ant Group: Report

The administrative changes may affect the company's public listing plans

Jack Ma To Relinquish Control Of Ant Group: Report
Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba
POSTED ON January 07, 2023 12:00 PM

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma is set to withdraw its majority shareholding from Chinese fintech giant Ant, Reuters reported. 

According to an announcement by the company, it will provide voting rights to the founders, management and staff to remove Ma as the majority controller. The adjustment is not expected to change any economic dividend of any shareholders in the company. 

Ma will also hold voting rights and economic interests in the company. According to a Bloomberg estimate, the billionaire will have 6.2 per cent voting rights in the company. 

However, administrative changes may affect the company's public listing plans. It seems that Ant has to wait a long time for its initial public offer ( IPO). According to market regulations, a company can not list itself domestically on the A Share Market if it has witnessed a controller change in the past three or two years. Hence, the company needs to wait for its IPO. 

The fintech giant was all set to conduct the listing in 2020. However, it retreated due to the tech crackdown in the year. 

Ma was seen to criticise the market regulators through a speech on the evening of the Ant listing. Since then, he did not show up at public events. Many of his peers were seen to forfeit their corporate roles too. They also boosted donations for philanthropy to align with Chinese President Xi Jinping's vision to achieve 'common prosperity.' 

Ma's exit from the company has triggered tensions about the Chinese economy among investors. Multiple investors think that the Chinese authority's effort to reduce the influence of private players in the tech sector will harm the country's economic goals. For instance, Andrew Collier, the managing director of Orient Capital Research, Hong Kong, said to Reuters, "Jack Ma's departure from Ant, a company he founded, shows the determination of the Chinese leadership to reduce the influence of large private investors. This trend will continue the erosion of the most productive parts of the Chinese economy." 

Duncan Clark, the chairman of the Investment Advisory Firm BDA, Beijing, told Reuters, "With the Chinese economy in a very febrile state, the government is looking to signal its commitment to growth, and the tech/private sectors are key to that as we know. At least Ant investors can (now) have some timetable for an exit after a long period of uncertainty."

Jack Ma-led Alibaba Group and Ant were earlier seen to offload stakes in Indian fintech firm Paytm. Alibaba withdrew its 28.34 per cent stake, whereas Ant forfeited its near to 15 per cent stake in the company. 

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