Jack Ma has seen his net worth plunge by $3 billion after the Ant Group double initial public offering (IPO) was suspended on Tuesday (Nov. 3) by Chinese regulators, according to a report from Business Insider, which quoted numbers from Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.
The IPO attracted $3 trillion in bids and was going to be considered the biggest in history, planned to be listed both on the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges. Ant Group was looking to raise around $35 billion in proceeds from the offering.
But the suspension of the IPO came just a day after Ma met with regulatory officials, including the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), Insurance Regulatory Commission, the Securities Regulatory Commission and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. The regulators told Ma and two other top executives that Ant’s lucrative online lending business would face more scrutiny.
The IPO was held up on Tuesday by the Shanghai Stock Exchange, which made the decision because of the aforementioned meeting with regulators. Shanghai said the meeting disqualifies Ant from listing on Thursday (Nov. 5) as originally planned.
So, Ma’s wealth plummeted, and shares of Alibaba, which owns a third of Ant Group, fell by around 10 percent on Tuesday. Ma also owns 4.2 percent of Alibaba, which has a market capitalization of $775.5 billion.
But Ma can still claim $54 billion to his name, Bloomberg reported.
Earlier this week, as the IPO was still on, Ma clarified for regulators that Ant Group is more of a tech company than a bank due to its work with artificial intelligence (AI) and connecting borrowers and lenders. The angle of that decision could’ve been rooted in the more lucrative value of a tech IPO as opposed to one by a financial institution.
Financial regulators had previously argued that the company belonged under their purview. And some critics took umbrage with the fact that Ant Group had, until this year, gone by the name Ant Financial instead.