SOHO China CFO Investigated for Alleged Insider Trading
A Weibo user broke the news recently that “Ni Kuiyang, Chief Financial Officer of Chinese property developer SOHO China, was probed by police for investigation on suspicion of insider trading, and many senior executives of the company were also investigated.” The post also mentioned that the related events may involve suspected insider trading during the acquisition of SOHO China in 2021. Another netizen commented: “I just want to know when the company will pay our wages in arrears.”
On July 6, the Global Times learned from individuals familiar with the matter that the information was not unfounded.
The news has aroused concern among Chinese investors. Some questioned SOHO China’s failure to disclose major changes to the company in a timely manner, and called on it to earnestly safeguard the rights and interests of investors and release relevant information as soon as possible. Up to now, SOHO China has not publicly responded to this matter.
According to SOHO China’s Annual Report, Ni Kuiyang, Chief Financial Officer of the company, is 44 years old, graduated from the School of Economics and Management of China University of Petroleum in 1999. She joined SOHO China in July 2008, and has been at the company for 14 years. Ni began to serve as Vice President of the company in 2014 and as Chief Financial Officer in October 2018, and has more than 20 years of experience in accounting and finance.
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In 2021, news about Blackstone Group’s acquisition of SOHO China was widely spread. On June 16, SOHO China announced that Blackstone Group intended to acquire 2.856 billion shares of the company indirectly held by Cititrust at a price of HK$5 ($0.64) per share, accounting for about 54.93% of the issued share capital of SOHO China. After the transaction was completed, Blackstone Group would become the largest shareholder of SOHO China, and the shareholding ratio of SOHO China founders Pan Shiyi and wife Zhang Xin will be reduced from 63.93% to about 9%.
Based on this, Blackstone Group would spend HK$23.658 billion ($3.01 billion). Pan Shiyi and his wife would cash out HK$14.281 billion in one lump sum.
However, SOHO China’s “selling” plan failed in the end. On September 10, 2021, it announced that in view of the insufficient progress in meeting the preconditions, all parties decided and unanimously agreed not to make an offer after consulting executives.