China’s Ant Group says it will adjust its shareholding structure to keep billionaire founder Jack Ma from controlling the fintech giant.
The company said in a statement on Saturday that “the shareholders will not control Ant Group, either alone or jointly with any other party,” after the completion of the reconciliation.
The move marks another major development after the regulatory crackdown that ruined Ant’s $37 billion initial public offering (IPO) in late 2020 and led to a forced restructuring of the financial technology company.
According to Ant’s IPO prospectus filed on both exchanges in 2020, Ma owns only a 10% stake in Ant, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba, but has acquired the company through an affiliate. dominated.
The former English teacher, who founded Alibaba and was China’s richest man until the country’s crackdown on technology, has come a long way since criticizing Chinese regulators’ attitudes toward tech companies at a summit in Shanghai two years ago. , rarely appeared in public.
Ma’s net worth was reportedly halved from nearly $50 billion to $21.7 billion (£18 billion) in November. This is because regulators have targeted his actions against the giant Chinese tech empire.
Ma previously held more than 50% of Ant’s voting power, but the change will reduce his stake to 6.2%, according to Reuters calculations.
Ant also said it would add a fifth independent director to its board so that independent directors make up the majority of the board. Currently, there are eight directors.
In November, there were reports that Ma Yun was hiding out in Tokyo with his family during Beijing’s crackdown on China’s star tech companies and some of China’s most powerful and wealthy businessmen.
This week, media reports said he was spotted in Thailand. Ma was spotted at Bangkok’s Michelin-starred restaurant Jay Fai, according to an Instagram post reported by Bloomberg. The eatery shared a photo of the chef posing with Ma on Friday.
Reuters and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report