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Ant Group’s Restructuring and Rebooting of Its Hong Kong IPO

Ant Group | Jul 30, 2023

Unsplash Guillaume de Germain Ant - Ant Group's Restructuring and Rebooting of Its Hong Kong IPO

Image: Unsplash/Guillaume de Germain

Ant Group, the fintech giant backed by Jack Ma, is undergoing significant restructuring, which could potentially pave the way for a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO). However, recent reports suggest that the IPO may not be imminent.

Here are some key takeaways from the current situation:

Restructuring Plans: Ant Group is planning a restructuring that will separate some operations that aren't core parts of its China financial-related business. This includes its blockchain, database management services, and international business. These will be left out of a main entity that will be used to apply for a financial holding license in China. This restructuring could provide some relief to shareholders affected by the regulatory crackdown on the company.

Potential Hong Kong IPO: Once the restructuring is completed and Ant secures a license for its financial holding company, it can prepare for an IPO in Hong Kong. This is a shift from the previously pursued dual Shanghai-Hong Kong listing that was halted by the Chinese government in 2020. However, the plans are yet to be finalized and may be subject to change.

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Share Buyback: The company has received approval from shareholders to buy back as much as 7.6% of shares at a valuation of about $79 billion. This is significantly lower than its market capitalization ahead of the scrapped IPO in 2020, and down from the $150 billion value when global funds bought into it five years ago. This buyback could potentially provide some return to the investors.

IPO Not Imminent: Despite the restructuring plans, Ant Group is unlikely to proceed with a market listing in the near future. The company will need to assess internal and overall market conditions and ensure that any attempted listing is legal and in keeping with regulations. This suggests that while the restructuring may pave the way for an IPO, it may not happen in the short term.

In conclusion, while Ant Group's restructuring plans could potentially pave the way for a Hong Kong IPO, the timeline remains uncertain. Investors and stakeholders should closely monitor the situation for further developments.


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