BillionaireJack Ma to give up control of Chinese fintech giant Ant Group

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SHANGHAI: Chinese business magnate Jack Ma will no longer be the controlling person of Ant Group, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing a statement put out by the Chinese fintech giant.

The changes are made to reduce Ant’s reliance on the flamboyant Chinese billionaire, who co-founded Alibaba Group Holding and helped create Ant, the Journal reported previously.

Jack Ma continues to hold voting rights in an entity that controls Ant, alongside nine Ant executives and employees who were also given voting rights. Together, they jointly control the company, the statement said.

Ma only owns a 10 per cent stake in Ant, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding. He is said to have exercised control over the company through related entities, according to Ant’s initial public offering (IPO) prospectus filed with the exchanges in 2020.

Ma has mostly disappeared from public view since giving a speech that criticised regulators on the eve of the cancelled Ant listing in 2020. Regulators had pulled the plug on November 3, 2020, on the initial public offering of Ant Group, the internet finance giant, which had been all but ready to press “Go” on its $34-billion stock debut in Shanghai and Hong Kong, the New York Times had reported.

The NYT had reported that the IPO would have brought in more cash than did Saudi Aramco, the state-run oil giant, when it went public last year. And Ant would have raised the money on the opposite side of the planet from New York, which has long been the favoured listing destination for Chinese tech groups.

Ant Group’s controller Jack Ma, executive chairman Eric Jing and CEO Simon Hu were summoned and interviewed by regulators in China, according to a statement from the China Securities Regulatory Commission. (ANI)

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