Market Overview

Alibaba shares dive 7% as Ant Group’s record $34.5 billion IPO is suspended

Ant Group’s world record-setting initial public offering in Shanghai and Hong Kong has been suspended. The Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges made the announcement on Tuesday. Alibaba, which owns a roughly 33% stake in Ant Group, saw its Hong Kong-listed shares tumble by more than 7% in Asia trade on Wednesday. Alibaba shares on the New York Stock Exchange closed more than 8% lower overnight.

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 Monday from the China Securities Regulatory Commission. On Tuesday, the Shanghai Stock Exchange referred to that meeting in explaining why it has suspended the IPO.

It said Ant has reported “significant issues such as the changes in financial technology regulatory environment,” according to a CNBC translation of the statement from Mandarin. “These issues may result in your company not meeting the conditions for listing or meeting the information disclosure requirements.”

As a result, the exchange decided to suspend the company’s listing on the Science and Technology Innovation Board, also known as the STAR Market — China’s version of the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Shortly after, Ant Group said the listing of the Hong Kong shares will also be suspended.

Ant Group was gearing up to raise just under $34.5 billion in what would have been the world’s biggest initial public listing. It was planning on a dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong on Thursday. In a statement to CNBC, an Ant Group spokesperson apologized for the suspension of its IPO and will work through the regulatory concerns with the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges. The company said it suspended its Hong Kong listing after being informed by the Shanghai Stock Exchange that the IPO would be delayed.

On Monday, the Chinese central bank and regulators issued new draft rules for online micro-lending, which could affect Ant Group. In a statement, an Alibaba spokesperson said the company would support Ant Group through the regulatory hurdles.

For the last few years, Chinese regulators have been growing concerned about the rise of fintech platforms offering loans and whether they pose a systemic risk to the economy. Authorities have also been keeping an eye on companies like Ant Group, which they see as providing bank-like services despite not being a bank.

Alibaba shares dive 7% as Ant Group’s record $34.5 billion IPO is suspended, CNBC, Nov 4

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