Beijing says it halted $37bn Ant IPO to protect market stability

Beijing says it halted $37bn Ant IPO to protect market stability

China’s regulators scuppered record stock market debut after summoning founder Jack Ma

Beijing said its suspension of the $37bn listing of Ant Group, controlled by China’s richest man Jack Ma, was needed to protect the country’s capital markets as investors reeled from the eleventh-hour decision.

The move to halt the world’s largest initial public offering of the online lender for an indefinite period would most likely have been signed off by Chinese president Xi Jinping, people familiar with the Communist party’s decision-making process said.

Wang Wenbin, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, said on Wednesday the suspension of the IPO aimed to “better maintain the stability of the capital markets and to protect investors’ interests”. 

The Shanghai stock exchange cited “major issues” including changes to the “financial regulatory environment” for its decision on Tuesday evening to halt the offering, which was due to start trading in the city and in Hong Kong on Thursday.