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彭博:蚂蚁明年完成IPO的可能性微乎其微

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彭博社报道称,据知情监管官员透露,随着中国对金融科技行业的监管规定进行改革,蚂蚁集团(Ant Group Co.)明年重启大规模上市的可能性看起来越来越小。

彭博:蚂蚁明年完成IPO的可能性微乎其微

彭博社报道中称,监管官员表示,蚂蚁金服仍处于评估需要做出哪些改变的早期阶段,以满足监管机构的要求,监管机构要求蚂蚁金服遵守一系列新的和拟议的指导方针,包括对消费者的贷款。由于需要做这么多工作,而一些规则还没有明确,首次公开发行可能在2022年之前无法完成。

有两位知情人士向彭博社表示,中国已经成立了一个联合工作组来监管蚂蚁金服,由金融体系监管机构金融稳定与发展委员会(Financial Stability and Development Committee)以及央行的多个部门和其他监管机构领导,与蚂蚁金服保持定期联系,以收集数据和其他材料,研究蚂蚁金服的重组,并起草金融科技行业的其他规则。

彭博社称,如果再推迟一年或更久,对马云以及美国华平投资集团(Warburg Pincus LLC)等早期投资者来说将是又一次挫折。这些投资者原本指望从达到创纪录的350亿美元的创纪录IPO中大赚一笔。这还可能对持有蚂蚁金服三分之一股份的阿里巴巴集团控股有限公司(Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.)造成冲击。本月该交易突然暂停后,阿里巴巴集团股价暴跌。阿里巴巴在香港上市的股票周一下跌2.7%。(注:下午开盘后进一步走低)

彭博:蚂蚁明年完成IPO的可能性微乎其微

附:彭博报道原文

Ant IPO Has Slim Chance of Getting Done Next Year

Bloomberg News

2020年11月30日 GMT+8 上午8:00 Updated on 2020年11月30日 GMT+8 上午9:40

The chances that Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co. will be able to revive its massive stock listing next year are looking increasingly slim as China overhauls rules governing the fintech industry, according to regulatory officials familiar with the matter.

Ant is still in the early stages of reviewing changes needed to appease regulators, who demand that its business comply with a slate of new and proposed guidelines in areas including lending to consumers, the officials said. With so much work needed and some rules not yet spelled out, the officials said the initial public offering may not get done before 2022.

An additional delay of a year or more would be another setback for billionaire Ma, as well as the early-stage investors including Warburg Pincus LLC that were counting on a windfall from what was poised to be a record $35 billion IPO. It would also deal a potential blow to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which owns a third of Ant and saw its stock tumble after the deal was abruptly suspended this month. Alibaba fell 2.7% in Hong Kong Monday.

A representative for Ant declined to comment. Representatives at the central bank, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission and the China Securities Regulatory Commission didn’t immediately respond to faxes seeking comments.

The enormity of the challenge Ant faces restarting its IPO emerged from discussions with officials working across regulators with oversight of financial services and the securities industry. They emphasized that Beijing’s immediate priority was ensuring the fintech giant fall in line with the evolving regulatory environment.

China has set up a joint task force to oversee Ant, led by the Financial Stability and Development Committee, a financial system regulator, along with various departments of the central bank and other regulators, two of the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private matters. The group is in regular contact with Ant to collect data and other materials, studying its restructuring as well as drafting other rules for the fintech industry, they said.

Fresh Capital

Under the draft rules for micro-lenders issued in early November, Ant would be forced to replenish capital. That could mean the company needs about $12 billion to comply, according to an estimate from Bloomberg Intelligence.

The firm also needs to apply to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission for new licenses for its two micro-lending platforms: Huabei (Just Spend) and Jiebei (Just Lend). The banking regulator will limit the number of platforms allowed to operate nationally, and is unlikely to approve two licenses for Ant, said the people.

Ant will also need to apply to the central bank for a separate financial holding company license since its operations straddle more than two financial segments. Regulators have yet to give clear and specific guidance to Ant, but have told the company it needs to comply with the current regulations and operate under the framework of a financial holding company, according to people familiar.

The Hangzhou-based firm is awaiting the final version of the micro-lending rules and expects more regulations on the fintech sector, such as in wealth management, to come over the next few months, one of the people said. In the meantime, the IPO isn’t a priority.

Hurdles Remain

Understanding the authorities’ thinking and navigating the complex rules — some of which are still subject to change — are the biggest hurdles facing Ant, whose listing was halted just two days before scheduled debuts in Hong Kong and Shanghai. The highly anticipated IPO had set off an investment frenzy, with soaring demand pushing its valuation to $315 billion, more than JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s at the time.

Without any actionable plan agreed upon by all parties, Ant faces an extended pause in reviving the IPO, potentially longer than the few months delay signaled by some analysts and the top executive at Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings Ltd., one of the bankers on the deal. If Ant fails to get the sale done before its IPO filing expires in October, it would have to go through the listing process again in Shanghai and seek new approvals.

The landscape is quickly shifting for China’s fintech industry, which until recently offered the most compelling evidence of technology giants using their might — and a light regulatory touch — to rewire traditional financial services. With the call for tightened oversight coming from the top leadership, they are now rushing to shore up capital, mulling business overhauls and bracing for more turbulence as industry watchdogs set their sights on areas spanning lending, banking partnerships and data privacy.

Ant, the biggest player in online lending, has been the most visible casualty given the abrupt halt to its IPO, shelved just weeks after Ma called out China regulators to adapt to the changing face of finance. Apart from discussions about replenishing capital, Ant is also slowing the pace at which it packages existing loans into asset-backed securities to sell to investors, a person familiar with the matter has said.

Analysts including those from Morningstar Inc. have already slashed their estimates for Ant’s valuation by as much as half, eroding potential gains for early investors such as Warburg Pincus, Silver Lake Management LLC and Temasek Holdings Pte.

A smaller deal would also mean reduced fees for investment banks including Citigroup Inc. and China International Capital Corp. that were counting on an IPO windfall. The reduced sale gives Ma’s firm less heft to carry out acquisitions as it looks to expand beyond its Chinese base and take the fight domestically to Tencent Holdings Ltd.

— With assistance by John Liu, Haze Fan, Heng Xie, Zheng Li, Lulu Yilun Chen, April Ma, Jun Luo, and Xize Kang

(Updates with Alibaba shares in third paragraph)

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