China's Jack Ma Plans to Give Up Control of Ant Group, Dow Jones Says

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Billionaire Jack Ma plans to relinquish control of Ant Group Co., Dow Jones reported, citing people familiar with the matter said, part of the fintech giant’s effort to appease regulators following a lengthy crackdown.

Billionaire Jack Ma plans to relinquish control of China’s Ant Group Co., Dow Jones reported, citing people familiar with the matter said, part of the fintech giant’s effort to appease regulators following a lengthy crackdown.

With Ma giving up control, a revival of Ant’s initial public offering could be put back another year or more, Dow Jones reported, citing Chinese securities regulations that require a timeout on public listings for companies that have gone through a change in control.

Ma, who doesn’t hold any titles at Ant, currently controls 50.52% of voting rights in the company. He could transfer some of his voting power to other Ant officials including Chief Executive Eric Jing, Dow Jones cited the people as saying.

Ant told regulators of Ma’s intention to cede control, the people said, adding that regulators didn’t demand the change but have given their blessing.

The Hangzhou-based company has been recasting itself to meet the demands of China’s watchdogs, who have pledged to curb the “reckless” push of technology firms into finance.

The Communist Party’s evolving stance toward the private sector has become one of the most closely watched developments in global markets in recent years, with some observers going as far as to call China’s sprawling internet sector uninvestable.

Ma, who controls Ant, has mostly disappeared from public view since giving a speech that criticized regulators on the eve of the scuttled Ant IPO. Many of his peers have relinquished their formal corporate roles and increased donations to charity to align with Xi’s vision of achieving “common prosperity.”