HKEX CEO ‘Disappointed’ that Ant Group’s $35B IPO Was Suspended

UTC by Godfrey Benjamin · 3 min read
HKEX CEO ‘Disappointed’ that Ant Group’s $35B IPO Was Suspended
Photo: World Economic Forum / Flickr

The HKEX CEO believes the ongoing swing in the global markets may continue well beyond January when the United States President-Elect Joe Biden will officially assume office.

The outgoing Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) Charles Li has revealed that he was disappointed by the authorities to move to suspend Ant Group’s scheduled public listing. The public listing which was scheduled to take place simultaneously on both the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The public listing was expected to bring in about $35 billion in Initial Public Offering (IPO).

The HKEX CEO noted that “when you see a large, record-breaking transaction like that suspended, you do have strong mixed feelings.” Despite the obvious disappointment that Li said he felt, he attributed some positives to the entire scenario.

“On one hand, I was very much disappointed to see the transaction get postponed and suspended the very last minute,” he said. “But on the other hand, I’m also quite relieved in the sense that new regulations are going to come out and become defining regulatory changes into the landscape.”

With Ant Group, the technology sister company backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (HKG: 9988) and Jack Ma, the company’s core product and service which borders around the payment subsector in the country desires extra scrutiny, particularly as it relates to the market share it has garnered.

Li also believed that the market represented by Ant Group may still be more impacted later on in the near future and that it will be ideal to “let the regulatory situation settle down and have clarity return so we can go at it again.” Li thus believes that Ant Group is most likely to make another ambitious attempt to seek its long-desired public listing in a short while from now.

“I can’t speak for the company and I shouldn’t be commenting on specific communications either. But we’re maintaining a strong dialogue on very important transactions like this. I have no doubt in my mind that a big company like that will soon return to the market,” he said, refusing to state a timeline to watch out for.

HKEX CEO on Future Market Outlook

The HKEX CEO who made these comments to CNBC’s Emily Tan as part of the annual East Tech West conference also weighed in on the future of the markets with a Biden Presidency as well as the yet to be resolved COVID-19 pandemic resurgence.

The CEO believes the ongoing swing in the global markets may likely continue well beyond January when the US President-Elect, Joe Biden will officially assume office as the 46th President of the United States of America.

The Ant Group’s IPO was well subscribed to by retail investors who numbered about 1.5 million dollars, while the details of the ongoing investigations are unclear, little is also known about what will happen to the firm’s current retail investors.

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