It’s not clear at what point during the week after his Oct. 24 speech lambasting China’s increasingly heavy-handed financial regulation that Jack Ma realized he had really stepped in it, putting his dream of the world’s largest IPO rather in some jeopardy. Certainly, by the time of his summons for a little sit-down with the People’s Bank of China, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, he must have suspected just how covered in excrement both of his feet, ankles and legs up to and possibly above his knees were, because he came prepared to do whatever it took to keep things moving along.
“You can take any of the platforms Ant has, as long as the country needs it,” Mr. Ma, China’s richest man, proposed at an unusual sit-down with regulators, the people said.
The offer, not previously reported, appeared a mea culpa of sorts from Mr. Ma….
Alas, as we now know, even that rather extraordinary offer was not enough shit to eat for having angered Xi Jinping. Which is not to say it won’t be a part of that foul menu, just that if the regulators do take Ma up on it, it won’t be in exchange for allowing the IPO, to say nothing of looser regulation.
People close to China’s financial regulators say there is no decision, for now, to take Mr. Ma up on his offer. One plan being considered involves subjecting Ant to tighter capital and leverage regulations, according to the people. Under that scenario, state banks or other types of state investors would buy into Ant to help cover any potential capital shortfall as a result of the tightened rules….. “The odds of nationalizing at least parts of the company are not zero,” says a government adviser in Beijing.