Founder of Alibaba Group is Poised to Lose the Controlling Interest in Ant Group

9 January 23

According to a statement by Ant Group, amidst restructurization within the company no one person would have full control over company decisions.

Jack Ma, who founded the e-commerce giant, Alibaba, used to have a 50% stake in Ant Group. After the restructurization he will only control about 6% of the voting rights in the company.

In November 2020, Ant Group was ready to launch its IPO with a valuation of around €30bn, which would have made it the biggest that year. At the last minute, the flotation was called off after a meeting between the company’s executives and the local regulators.

Some analysts have said that the last-minute call off of Ant Group IPO was an attempt by the Chinese government to subdue the tech giant and its chief, who has become too outspoken in critique of the country’s banking system.

The regulatory action followed Mr. Ma’s assertion that traditional banks had a “pawn-shop mindset” during a finance conference.

He also added that banks in China should base their lending decisions on data and not collateral.

After the Ant Group’s flotation fell through, Mr. Ma seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth. Only after around 3 months, he resurfaced according to various reports, but has been avoiding publicity ever since.

Ma’s decision to give up control of Ant comes as the company is almost finished with a two-year regulatory-driven reorganization and is facing a fine of more than $1 billion from Chinese regulators.

These news raise all kinds of concerns for future investors in China as well as local businesses. Other companies could possibly seek to grow their business elsewhere knowing that the big brother is always watching their backs.

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