Jack Ma could relinquish control of Ant

Billionaire Jack Ma, one of China’s most reputable entrepreneurs, could relinquish control of Ant Group.

The move would further separate the company from its subsidiary Alibaba after regulators across the country put pressure on big tech companies more than a year ago, according to the Wall Street Journal. reported Thursday, July 28, citing unnamed sources with inside information.

Hangzhou Yunbo, an investment vehicle for Ma, controls two other entities that hold a combined 50.5% stake in Ant Group. Ma owns a 34% stake in Hangzhou Yunbo, with the remaining 66% split between Ant CEO Eric Jing, former CEO Simon Hu and veteran Alibaba executive and former non-executive director of Ant Fang Jiang.

Ma has veto power over Hangzhou Yunbo’s decisions, giving other executives a hand in Ant’s operations without changing control, which could delay an initial public offering (IPO), one said. sources at the WSJ.

See also: Ant Group executives walk away from Alibaba amid China polls

Amid heightened regulatory scrutiny, Ant Group and Alibaba are increasingly looking to distance themselves from each other, PYMNTS reported earlier this week. CEO and Chairman Eric Jing and CTO Xingjun Ni left Alibaba four months ago along with seven other executives,

Ma could give up control of Ant Group by transferring a percentage of his stake to other executives, diluting his voting power, a source told the WSJ.

Reducing its stake could revive Ant’s planned record IPO in 2020, halted by regulators during a crackdown.

Ant Group informed regulators of Ma’s plan to cede control as the company prepared to transform into a financial holding company, the sources told the WSJ. Although the change was unnecessary, regulators gave it the green light, the sources said.

Related: Ant Group presents ANEXT Bank in Singapore

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