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China to consider reviving Ant Group’s IPO

Chinese financial regulators have started early stage talks on a potential revival of Ant Group’s initial public offering (IPO), Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said in a statement it had not conducted any assessment or research work regarding Ant’s IPO.

The regulator had established a team to reassess the share sale plans of the fintech giant, which is controlled by billionaire Jack Ma, Bloomberg earlier reported.

The U.S. listed shares of Alibaba Group Holdings , which owns nearly one-third of Ant, rose up to 4% in pre-market trading on the report but quickly fell on the CSRC statement to trade 3.6% lower.

Ant had planned a record $37 billion IPO in Shanghai and Hong Kong in November 2020 before China abruptly suspended the deal days before the stock was due to start trading.

The IPO’s derailment marked the start of a regulatory crackdown to rein in the growth of China’s technology sector and the possible revival of a share sale would be a clear sign of a thaw in relations.

Chinese regulators are concluding probes into ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc and two other firms and are preparing to allow their apps back on domestic app stores as early as this week, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

That report, citing unnamed people familiar with the issues, was interpreted as the latest signal to investors that official promises to ease pressure on China’s internet sector may be gaining traction.

Ant has been subjected to a sweeping restructuring by Beijing since the end of 2020 that would see it become a financial holding company.

Authorities cracked down on Ma’s business empire after he gave a speech in Shanghai in October 2020 accusing financial watchdogs of stifling innovation. Bloomberg

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