China’s Fintech Giant Ant Group Responds to IPO Postponement Rumor, Saying Listing Process is Proceeding in Orderly Manner

(Source: Ant Group)

China’s fintech giant Ant Group on Tuesday responded to the recent news about its IPO postponement due to securities regulator’s investigation, saying the listing process is proceeding in an orderly manner.

“We don’t have a preset timetable,” the spokesperson said. “There is no factual basis for speculation on the timetable of the listing.”

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) is probing a potential conflict of interest in fintech giant Ant Group’s planned $35 billion stock listing. This will delay approval for what could be the world’s largest IPO, according to Reuters.

The securities regulator is investigating the role of Alipay, Ant’s flagship payment platform, as the only third-party channel through which retail investors could buy into five Chinese mutual funds investing in the IPO. And the arrangement could sideline banks and brokerages, the traditional route for retail investors to buy into funds.

The CSRC said in guidelines effective from Oct. 1 that mutual fund distributors should avoid conflicts of interest form selling products related to their other existing and potential businesses.

The people said the probe was unlikely to derail the IPO, although it was unclear what its outcome might be, Reuters reported.

Ant, which runs China’s immensely popular Alipay mobile wallet, is reportedly looking to rake in at least $35 billion through an offering that could value the company at $250 billion. That would make Ant’s offering larger than that of Saudi Aramco, which brought in more than $25 billion in the biggest IPO to date.

Ant, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is China’s dominant mobile payments company, offering loans, payments, insurance and asset management services via mobile apps.

It is seeking a dual-listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and needs CSRC approval for both listings.

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On July 20, Ant Group announced its “A+H” listing plan. One month later, Ant concurrently announced the application for IPO documents of the Sci-Tech innovation board and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

On Sept. 18, the Shanghai Stock Exchange approved Ant’s application for listing. At present, Ant Group has passed the second inquiry of the Sci-Tech innovation board listing committee and submitted the registered version of the prospectus.