The record-setting initial public offering (IPO) of Ant Group stock, which was scheduled to debut today on exchanges in Shanghai and Hong Kong, has been abruptly suspended. High-ranking executives of the digital finance company, which was set to be spun off from Alibaba Group (BABA 2.73%), have been called to appear before Chinese regulators. Those summoned included Ant Group's head Jack Ma, Executive Chairman Eric Jing, and CEO Simon Hu.
Ant Group's market debut was set to raise a record $37 billion, making it the world's largest public listing and valuing the company at around $310 billion. There's currently no word on when the IPO will resume. Ant Group released a statement saying further details regarding the suspension would be released "as soon as possible."
The Shanghai Stock Exchange issued a statement on Tuesday explaining the suspension: "Recently, your company's actual controller, chairman, and general manager have been jointly summoned and interviewed by the relevant regulatory authorities."
The statement went on to cite "significant issues such as the changes in financial technology regulatory environment." It also noted that the stock may no longer meet "the conditions for listing or meeting the information disclosure requirements."
There's currently little information regarding the content of the discussions with regulators, though Ant said in a statement, "Views regarding the health and stability of the financial sector were exchanged," adding that Ant was "committed to implementing the meeting opinions in depth," though there is no word yet on what conditions regulators may have imposed.
In a development that hints at further oversight by regulators, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission laid out new draft rules for financial technology and online microfinance businesses, which include higher capital requirements and additional lending rules for cross-province loans.
Shares of Alibaba tumbled nearly 10% on the news, though they were recently trading down about 6%.