Ant IPO can make Jack Ma richer than Warren Buffett


Chinese billionaire Jack Ma could see his fortune surge by almost 40% if Alibaba’s online financial service, Ant Group, goes public in Hong Kong’s stock market later this week as planned.

That listing is now in limbo after Ant on Tuesday evening announced holding back the debut trading of its stock on Thursday amid Chinese regulatory checks.

Ma has a 34% equity interest in Hangzhou Yunbo, which controls two companies that hold a combined 50.52% of Ant shares. His equity interest in Yunbo translates into 8.8% of Ant’s issued shares.

According to agreements between the companies, Ma has ultimate control of the Ant Group, China’s biggest fintech company.

Days before Ant’s official stock market debut on Thursday morning, its shares are already selling on Hong Kong’s gray market at 50% more than the offer price, according to Bloomberg News, signaling the stock may jump in opening trade.

It was selling at HK$120 (US$15.50) per share to institutional investors on Monday, compared with the price of HK$80 during the initial public offering last week.

Ma has an estimated US$61 billion in assets, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.

If Ant is traded at HK$120 per share following its IPO, Ma’s fortune will grow by US$24.3 billion to US$85.3 billion. This will take the Chinese entrepreneur past American tycoon Warren Buffett’s US$77.2 billion, making him the world’s sixth richest person in Bloomberg’s rankings.

The listing will also boost the fortunes of 10 other Ant Group senior executives who each have shares of between 0.5% and 1.65%. Lucy Peng, a director who holds 1.65% of the group’s shares, can see her fortune increase by HK$40.3 billion.


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