China has placed sweeping consolidation on Ant Group, the fintech conglomerate whose record $37 billion IPO was thwarted by regulators in November, underscoring Beijing’s commitment to reel in its internet behemoths.
Ant is transforming itself into a financial investment company as part of the overhaul, which is supposed to reduce its viability and value by curtailing some of its more rogue companies.
It comes just two days after Ant’s subsidiary, Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, was slapped with a historic $2.75 billion antitrust fine as China tightens controls on the booming “platform economy.”
While the situation could seem to be unfavorable to Alibaba founder Jack Ma, there is reason to believe that he is still alive and well, since numerous media outlets have reported after his disappearance.
Ant will be subject to stricter regulatory scrutiny and capital constraints as a result of the reform, which also forces it to break ties with its hugely influential payments app Alipay and its other companies, which had been seen as a major benefit thanks to Alipay’s massive trove of consumer data.
Ant, headquartered in Hangzhou, China, was placed as a tech company in 2018 when it raised $14 billion in the world’s biggest fundraiser at a cost of about $150 billion. That soared to about $315 billion at its expected IPO pricing.
Alibaba’s New York-listed shares rose 8% after the antitrust fine was announced on Monday, following a similar rise in its Hong Kong-listed shares earlier in the day, with investors celebrating the end of volatility for Alibaba after the antitrust fine.