Regulators have laid out five demands for Ant, telling it to return to its payment roots, safeguard personal data in its credit business, set up a financial holding company, improve corporate governance and exercise more disciplines in its securities and asset-management businesses.
Putting all of Ant’s businesses under a financial holding company would give regulators oversight of all its activities, and eliminate the potential for regulatory arbitrage, according to one of the people familiar with the plan.
And when it does all of that, it can probably have its IPO back. It may not want it back, of course, but it also may not have a choice.
On Tuesday, when asked during a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum if Ant would revive its IPO, PBOC Gov. Yi Gang said that if laws and regulations are followed, “you will have the result….”
If Ant’s overhaul is implemented, the company’s revenue and profit growth could be significantly curtailed. Ant may also have to raise substantial capital to meet the regulatory requirements, and the company’s lofty valuation—which was premised on its profitability and growth potential—could also take a hit.