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As the tech space digests the Alibaba news, attention also shifts to what becomes of Ant Group’s 2020 suspended IPO.
The decision by Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) to split its business into 6 places has renewed focus on the suspended Ant Group IPO. At the beginning of the week, Alibaba announced plans to split into 6 independent business groups. According to the Chinese e-commerce giant, this decision is strategic and would allow each business unit to operate unrestrained. Alibaba further explained that each group would have its own CEO and board of directors. In addition, the Hangzhou-based tech giant said the sub-divisions could generate their IPOs and go public should they choose to. Alibaba described the split as necessary to unlock shareholder value and foster market competitiveness.
However, the attempt to become lighter and more exclusively service-oriented puts the spotlight back on affiliate company Ant. In November 2020, Ant’s record-shattering initial public offering in Shanghai and Hong Kong was unexpectedly canceled. At the time, the multifaceted corporation sought a public offering worth $34.5 billion. However, the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges announced the IPO suspension citing “significant issues.”
Last November, Chinese regulators summoned Ant Group’s senior executives amid the IPO suspension. These execs, controller Jack Ma, executive chairman Eric Jing, and CEO Simon Hu, fielded questions regarding Ant’s alleged inability to meet listing requirements.
Observers Forecast How Alibaba Business Announcement Impacts Ant Group IPO
Kingston Securities Executive Director Dickie Wong weighed in on the Alibaba business news and how the Ant Group IPO factors in. Wong said that Alibaba is aiming for a bigger target, plausibly the reintroduction of an Ant listing. According to him, “[reintroducing an Ant IPO into the equities market] is probably the biggest goal for Alibaba Group itself.” Although the Kingston Securities Executive Director admitted that the expected listing would not occur anytime soon, he maintained that “there’s big hope.” Wong concluded that an Ant IPO deal could happen sooner rather than later.
Wong’s assertion seems to be bolstered by recent happenings at Ant Group. For instance, the company secured regulatory approval in early January to expand its consumer finance business. Some observers see this development as a sign that Ant is closer to resolving regulators’ concerns.
KraneShares’ CIO Brendan Ahern also weighed in on the Alibaba business split announcement – and the lack of any reference to Ant. According to Ahern, although the e-commerce company did not mention Ant, investors could still focus on Ant’s IPO. The KraneShares’ CIO said:
“The one part about the press release that I think the investors will be asking for is the lack of talk about Ant Group. But certainty the renewed relationship or the good graces of Alibaba along with the government and its regulators is really driven by China’s necessity for domestic consumption in 2023.”
The Hang Seng Tech index gained approximately 3% following the Alibaba announcement. This gain is the Hong Kong index’s highest in over a month, with Alibaba shares and other Chinese tech giants popping.