The stock exchanges of Hong Kong and Shanghai announced on Tuesday that Ant Group’s much anticipated initial public offering (IPO), which would have been the largest stock sale at US$39.67 billion, was suspended less than 48 hours before the start of trading over regulatory concerns.
Just last month, co-founder Jack Ma talked about digital currencies being the future as he said the current system needs to be reformed, “one for the next generation and young people.”
Ma also criticized China’s financial regulator, saying the current regulatory system stifles innovation as he called for a revamp, which may have played a role in this suspension.
Earlier this week, Ant Group’s senior executives, including Ma, had a meeting with China’s top financial regulators and central bank officials that led to a “significant change” to Ant’s business environment.
According to Ant Group’s statement to the two stocks exchanges, the fintech company did not fulfill the listing requirement or disclosure rules. As such, the trading debut was postponed.
Retail investors who applied for the IPO, which was oversubscribed 389 times, will get a refund in two batches, reported South China Morning Post.
About 1.55 million small investors in Hong Kong contributed HK$1.3 trillion ($167.7 billion) into the highly awaited IPO offering, making it the highest amount to be refunded in history.