China Tells Ant to Become Financial Holding Firm in Overhaul
Fidelity Investments halved its valuation estimate for Ant Group Co. following a Chinese regulatory crackdown on the fintech giant.
The Boston-based money manager lowered the implied valuation for Ant to about US$144 billion at the end of February, compared with a US$295 billion value assigned to the firm in August, according to U.S. filings.
Fidelity joins other global funds in cutting back estimates for Ant’s worth. The future of Jack Ma’s company -- and its valuation -- have been shrouded in uncertainty as regulators sort through details of a fintech industry overhaul that abruptly halted Ant’s US$35 billion initial public offering in November. The company has since committed to drastically revamping its business and seen its chief executive officer Simon Hu exit.
Fidelity’s current price tag would be lower than the US$150 billion valuation when it invested in Ant back in 2018. Warburg Pincus also lowered its estimate for Ant to a US$200 billion to US$250 billion range, people familiar have said. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported Fidelity’s figures.
Ant recently announced internally that it would allow staff to take out interest-free loans based on their stock options, people familiar said. The options, known as Share Economic Rights, with each representing 5.53 shares, will be priced at 195 yuan (US$30) or 35.26 yuan a share, in line with an internal buyback price from 2018, people have said.
A representative for Ant declined to comment. A representative for Fidelity couldn’t immediately comment.