ANT Group is exploring options for founder Jack Ma to divest his billion-dollar stake in the fintech company. According to the sources, such an action would be intended to put a stop to the investigations of the Chinese competition authorities. Recently, ANT group’s parent company, e-commerce giant Alibaba, was fined 18.2 billion Chinese yuan for monopolistic practices.
Between January and March, policymakers from the people’s Bank of China and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission held talks with both Ma and ANT Group to discuss the option of the billionaire leaving the company.
ANT Group denied that a divestment of Ma’s interest had ever been considered.
According to Reuters, it is not clear whether a sale of Ma’s interest in ANT Group will still be carried out and, if so, in what form.
One option is that the interest of Ma, which is worth billions of dollars, is sold to existing investors in ANT Group or to Alibaba. Another possibility, according to Reuters, is that Ma sells its stake to an investor with ties to the Chinese government.
According to the sources, any scenario would require approval from Beijing anyway.