The $34 billion-plus IPO of Chinese fintech giant Ant Group has been postponed on both the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges, less than 48 hours before the record dual listing was set to happen.
The Shanghai Stock Exchange put a stop to the float late Tuesday citing regulatory changes, prompting Ant to also halt its Hong Kong debut. The SSE said the company, an affiliate of Jack Ma's Alibaba, may fail to meet listing requirements following a change in the rules. Ant had planned to sell 1.67 billion shares in Hong Kong for HK$80 a share and a similar amount on Shanghai's STAR board at 68.8 yuan a share (both equivalent to a share price of about $10.30). The IPO, expected to raise at least $34.4 billion, would have been the largest on record.
The news comes shortly after Chinese regulators drafted new rules governing online micro-lending—an area in which Ant operates—in a bid to tackle rising debt in the country. According to a report from Reuters, regulators had called a meeting Monday with Ma, Ant's co-executive chairman Eric Jing and chief executive Simon Hu to discuss Ant's online lending business and the prospect of greater scrutiny.