Jack Ma-backed Ant Group Co. is proposing to buy back as much as 7.6% of shares in an effort to retain talent and provide a chance to cut stakes for investors ensnared by a years-long regulatory crackdown at the company, reports Bloomberg. Each investor would be allowed to sell up to 7.6% of their equity rather than cashing out completely, according to a person familiar with the matter, asking not be identified discussing private details of the arrangement.
Ant’s planned repurchase of the equity would value the company at about RMB 567.1 billion ($78.5 billion), it said in a statement on Saturday. That is almost 70% lower than the $280 billion market capitalization it fetched in 2020 for the scrapped initial public offering.
Chinese regulators are wrapping up a two-year crackdown on the country’s once-freewheeling technology giants after slapping more than $1 billion of fines on Ant and Tencent Holdings Ltd. on Friday. Ant has completed its overhaul ordered by Beijing, pinching profitability and sapping growth at a sprawling platform that spanned lending and insurance to asset management.