US asset manager Fidelity halves valuation of Ant Group holding after Chinese crackdown

Ant Group's Hangzhou Headquarters. Source: Ant Group

US asset manager Fidelity Investments has halved the valuation of its shares in Ant Group, the Chinese financial technology company at the centre of a major regulatory crackdown, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The new valuation for the Jack Ma-founded company, which has been forced to restructure following scrutiny from Beijing, was $144 billion as at the end of February, based on regulatory filings cited by the WSJ.

Ant declined to comment. Fidelity did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The $144 billion valuation compares with an appraised value of $295 billion as at the end of August, the WSJ report said. Fidelity was among a small group of global investors that bought into Ant three years ago.

Ant’s $37 billion initial public offering (IPO) in Shanghai and Hong Kong, which would have been the largest in the world, was cancelled in November soon after Ma made a speech in Shanghai in which he called for reform of China’s regulatory system.

Since then, Ant has restructured to become a financial holding company which analysts have said could dent Ant’s appeal to investors because of higher capital requirements that could reduce growth prospects. .

Fidelity‘s reported valuation was to the end of February and would not have taken into account the impact of Ant Group’s restructuring announced in April.

In May 2018, Fidelity invested about $238 million in Ant on behalf of various funds, the WSJ reported, citing Ant’s IPO prospectus, in a round that valued the company at about $150 billion, higher than the U.S. asset manager’s current valuation of Ant.

Reuters reported in March that some of Ant Group’s global investors valued the Chinese company at more than $200 billion based on its 2020 performance, less than the potential $315 billion valuation touted ahead of its listing.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.