Jack Ma is preparing to give up control of Ant Group in an effort to distance the fintech giant from his Alibaba tech group in the face of regulatory pressure, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Ma owns 10% of Ant but controls the company through related entities. He is now looking to cede this control by transferring voting rights to Ant executives, says the Journal, citing sources.
Ant has been in Chinese regulators' crosshairs for years. In late 2020, a planned $37 billion IPO was derailed by moves to impose tighter restrictions on fintech firms entering the banking market.
Since then the group has reportedly agreed on a restructuring plan with China’s regulators that will turn the fintech giant into a financial holding company subject to capital requirements similar to those for banks.
With officials demanding that Ant and Alibaba cut their ties ahead of this change, Ant has told regulators of Ma's plan to cede control, says the Journal.
This week, Alibaba posted its annual report, revealing that Ant executives are no longer part of the body that can nominate the majority of the tech firm's board.
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