Report: Ant Group to overhaul structure per agreement with China authorities

Ant Group, the financial affiliate of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, has reportedly reached an agreement with Chinese regulators over the company’s status.

According to a Feb. 3 report by Bloomberg, Chinese regulators have agreed on a restructuring plan that will turn Jack Ma’s fintech giant into a financial holding company.

Ant Group’s new status will reportedly make it subject to capital requirements similar to those for Chinese banks. The agreement will impact a wide scope of Ant’s business operations, including its technology offerings in areas like blockchain and food delivery, unnamed sources told Bloomberg.

According to the report, the restructuring plan marks the first step of an upcoming overhaul, which is expected to be a continuous process as regulators are set to develop detailed capital requirements and other guidelines for companies spanning multiple financial business lines.

The new holding status will reportedly have crucial implications for Ant Group in terms of its planned initial public offering. According to Bloomberg, Ant is still exploring opportunities for its potential IPO, but the new holding framework could make it more difficult as it is unclear how long it will take for authorities to come up with a listing decision.

As of publishing time, Ant Group has not responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. 

As previously reported, Ant Group filed its IPO in Hong Kong and Shanghai in August 2020, projecting to become the largest IPO in history. The $37 billion offering was subsequently halted by Chinese authorities amid concerns about Ant’s size as well as new rules requiring online platforms to provide more of their own funding for arranged loans.

Ant Group eventually became the subject of an antitrust investigation in late 2020. The latest news about Ant’s agreement with regulators comes shortly after Ma made his first public appearance since late 2020, after nearly three months of intense speculation about his whereabouts.