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Ant, the biggest IPO ever, shockingly gets squashed last-minute

Wednesday, November 4, 2020 by Robinhood Snacks |
_Ant Group, you shall not pass_

Ant Group, you shall not pass

Well, that was unexpected... Ant Group is the Chinese fintech giant that was supposed to go public tomorrow in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Think of Ant's Alipay app as a Financial Franken-App: it offers every money service imaginable — from payments to loans to insurance and investing (all in one).

  • Alipay has over 1B users, making it the biggest financial app in the world. That's 3X the number of Paypal users and 3X the US population.
  • Ant was on track to raise over $34B in its IPO, which would make it the largest ever. Then things got weird...
  • The IPO was suspended due to vague regulatory reasons that disqualified it from listing on the Chinese market.

Can I get a refund?... Ant had already raised big money from institutional investors who subscribed to its IPO. These VIPs — like mutual funds and brokerages — are the ones who actually buy the stock "initially" during its Initial Public Offering (before it's available to the rest of us). If the stock price goes up when shares hit the market, the VIPs make money. Ant apologized to investors and plans to return the $$$ it collected.

THE TAKEAWAY

Politics is a market risk... We don't really know why regulators squashed Ant, but the Chinese government's controlling-ness is likely behind it. Alibaba (aka: the Amazon of China) saw its stock drop 8% yesterday because it owns 33% of Ant. In its own IPO papers, Alibaba said that changes in the Chinese government's policies could hurt its biz. That seems to be proving true for Ant, too.