Chinese Billionaire Jack Ma Agrees to Cede Control of Fintech Giant Ant Group
Chinese billionaire Jack Ma recently agreed to give up control of Ant Group as part of changes to the fintech’s corporate structure, which will supposedly not have an impact on “the economic interests of any shareholders of Ant Group and their beneficiaries.” Once the process is complete, no single shareholder will have control over Ant Group, the fintech said in a statement.
Shareholders’ Economic Interests Unaffected
Billionaire and Chinese fintech giant Ant Group’s controlling shareholder, Jack Ma, recently agreed to an arrangement that dilutes his shareholding and his voting rights. As a result of these changes, Ma, who directly and indirectly controlled more than 50% of Ant Group, will see this influence whittled down to just 6%.
According to a statement issued by the fintech firm on Jan. 7, the adjustment to the Ant Group’s respective shareholders’ rights will see “the founder, representative of our management and employees exercising their voting rights independently.” Still, the adjustment is not expected to alter or adjust shareholders’ respective economic interests.
“The Adjustment is being implemented to further enhance the stability of our corporate structure and sustainability of our long-term development. The Adjustment will not result in any change to the economic interests of any shareholders of Ant Group and their beneficiaries,” the Ant Group said in a statement.
Chinese Authorities Still Expected to Fine Ant Group
The fintech giant added that once the adjustment process is complete, no shareholder including Ma will “enter into any form of concert party arrangements with any other party” or “seek control over Ant Group alone or jointly with any other party.” The changes however do not affect Ant Group’s day-to-day operations, the statement added.
Although Ma, who has been targeted by Chinese regulators in the past, has reportedly agreed to cede control of the fintech firm, one report suggests authorities in China will still impose a $1 billion fine on Ant Group. Furthermore, the fintech said the changes to its corporate structure do not mean it is reviving its much-publicized $37 billion initial public offering.
Meanwhile, following this announcement, the share price of Ant Group-linked firms as well as that of the e-commerce giant Alibaba all reportedly went up by 5%.
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