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Opinion

Shanghai Stock Exchange delays Ant’s IPO

The decision by Chinese regulators to postpone – and potentially derail for good – Ant Group’s world-record-breaking IPO is a seismic one. It leaves no one looking good, particularly the Hangzhou-based fintech firm, and raises many more questions than it answers.

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To quote Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy: Well, that escalated quickly.

On Tuesday morning (November 3), Ant Group was readying itself to complete the world’s largest ever IPO, a $37 billion dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

By nightfall, after the markets closed in Asia, and even as Americans turned out in their millions to vote in the most bitterly contested presidential election in a generation, Chinese regulators moved to postpone the sale, leaving the financial technology firm to scout around for explanations and sweep up the wreckage.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange’s shock announcement was straightforward in tone, but raised more questions than it answered.

The bourse said that on Monday, a group of Ant executives including founder Jack Ma, were called in for “supervisory interviews” in Shanghai with four regulatory bodies, including the People’s Bank of China and the China Securities Regulatory Commission – never a good sign.

Discussions, the exchange said, focused on recent changes in “the financial technology regulatory environment”.

Our exchange has decided to postpone the listing of your company

Pointing directly at Ant, it added: “This material event may cause your company to fail to meet the issuance and listing conditions or information disclosure requirements.

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