China suspended Ant Group’s 6688.HK record $37 billion listing just before its dual debut, sending the company scrambling to abide by new financial regulations.
Here’s a timeline of key events leading up to the IPO suspension.
SEPT 14: CHINA ISSUES NEW RULES FOR FINANCIAL HOLDING FIRMS
China issues new rules to regulate financial holding companies, with the central bank saying there had been a loophole in regulations for such companies.
Ant was among companies named by Pan Gongsheng, the People’s Bank of China vice governor.
OCT 21: ANT GETS GREEN LIGHT FROM SECURITIES REGULATOR
Ant wins the final nod from China’s top securities watchdog to register its Shanghai initial public offering (IPO), clearing the last regulatory hurdle for its issue.
OCT 24: ‘OLD MAN’S CLUB’
At a public event attended by Chinese regulators, Ant founder and billionaire Jack Ma said the financial and regulatory system stifled innovation and must be reformed to fuel growth. He also compared the Basel Committee of global banking regulators to “an old man’s club”.
OCT 26: ANT WINS BACKING OF STRATEGIC INVESTORS
Ant prices its IPO and secures the backing of strategic investors including a unit of Singapore state investor Temasek Holding, as well as Singaporean and Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth funds, large Chinese insurers and mutual funds.
OCT 30: MOM-AND-POP INVESTORS BID $3 TRILLION FOR SHARES
Retail investors bid for a record $3 trillion worth of shares in Ant’s dual listing, the equivalent of Britain’s gross domestic product, as they bet on demand for Ant’s financial technology services in China.
OCT 31: BEIJING FLAGS CONCERNS OVER FINTECH
China’s Financial Stability and Development Committee, a cabinet-level body headed by Vice Premier Liu He, flags risks associated with the rapid development of financial technology in what was widely interpreted as a government response to the rise of players such as Ant.
NOV 2: REGULATORS ANNOUNCE TALKS WITH ANT
Four of China’s top financial regulators say they conducted regulatory talks with Ma and Ant’s top two executives. Chinese regulators recommend tighter regulations for online micro-lending companies to help contain potential financial risks and rein in rising debt levels.
NOV 3: SHANGHAI IPO SUSPENDED, ANT FREEZES HK IPO
The Shanghai stock exchange suspends Ant’s IPO on its tech-focused STAR Market 688688.SS, citing the regulatory talks as a “material event” and a tougher regulatory environment as factors that may disqualify Ant from listing.
The move prompted Ant to also freeze the Hong Kong leg of its dual listing scheduled for Thursday.