Jack Ma to relinquish control of Ant Group

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Ant Group founder Jack Ma will no longer control the Chinese fintech giant after the firm’s shareholders agreed to implement a series of adjustments that will see him give up most of his voting rights, the conglomerate said on Saturday.

The move marks another major development after regulatory action that shelved Ant’s $37 billion IPO in late 2020 and led to a forced restructuring of the fintech behemoth.

Andrew Collier, Managing Director, Orient Capital Research, Hong Kong

“Jack Ma’s departure from Ant, the company he founded, reflects the Chinese leadership’s determination to reduce the influence of large private investors. This trend will continue to erode the most productive parts of the Chinese economy.

“Despite official comments, Ant posed little risk to the financial system and was effective in arranging loans for small businesses, one of the main drivers of economic growth.”

Duncan Clarke, chairman of investment advisory firm BDA, Beijing:

“Yes, it obviously matters if he is no longer the controlling shareholder. This should theoretically pave the way for an IPO, assuming the other key issue – oversight/ownership of the data – is resolved as well.

“With the Chinese economy in a very vulnerable state, the government is looking to signal its commitment to growth, and the tech/private sector is key to this as we know it. At least after a long period of uncertainty Ant investors may (now) have some timetable for their exit.

Weiheng Chen, partner and head of the Greater China practice in Hong Kong, law firm Wilson Sonsini

“If these voting arrangement changes are treated as an A share and/or a change of control event under Hong Kong listing regulations, Ant Group’s IPO process may be further delayed.”

– Reuters

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