Beijing slams the brakes on Ma’s ‘record’ Ant Group market debut

THE HONG Kong stock exchange has announced that the market debut by Jack Ma’s tech giant Ant Group has been suspended.

The Ant Group listings in Shanghai and Hong Kong would have been the biggest-ever stock market debut. The billionaire founder of e-commerce platform Alibaba — which owns a third of Ant — had intended to sell shares worth about £26.5bn, but the reaction to the suspension wiped nearly $76bn off the parent company’s stock value.

Chinese authorities have cited “major issues” as the reason for the last-minute suspension to “protect market stability”. They said Ant no longer met “listing conditions or information disclosure requirements”, and the Shanghai Stock Exchange says Ma has been called in for “supervisory interviews”.

Alibaba’s share price plunged 9.6 percent in Hong Kong trading, but has since recovered slightly. There was an 8.1 percent fall in New York. The Hong Kong exchange made the announcement that Ant had decided to suspend its listing.

Ant Group was due to sell about 11 percent of its shares across the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges.