China regulator denies Ant Group restarting IPO
The prospect of Alibaba’s listing of its financial arm Ant Group moving forward after an 18-month delay was dampened by the securities regulator denying it is looking at resuming the IPO.
In a brief statement, the China Securities Regulatory Commission noted it has “not conducted evaluation and research work in this regard, but we support eligible platform companies to list at home and abroad”.
Ant Group, parent company of mobile and online payment platform Alipay, also issued a statement insisting it had no plans to initiate an IPO, adding under the guidance of the regulators “we are focused on moving forward with our rectification work.”
Reuters reported yesterday (9 June) the government gave tentative approval for Ant Group to move ahead with its IPO in Shanghai and Hong Kong, which was pulled at the last minute in November 2020, as authorities initiated a crackdown on Alibaba. Sources told the news agency the group plans to submit the preliminary prospectus for the listing as soon as next month.
The suspension marked the beginning of a state clampdown on internet companies’ business practices and compliance with regulations.
In 2021, authorities ordered a restructure of Ant Group into a financial holding company to address government-mandated changes requiring it to cut links between Alipay and other financial units.
Over the past few months, the government appears to be winding down its scrutiny of tech companies. In April, authorities approved the first batch of games for the domestic market since a broad crackdown halted the review of new titles in August 2021.