Fidelity cuts Ant Group valuation by another 9% to US$64b

Fintech giant Ant Group Co.’s valuation was trimmed again by Fidelity Investments, more than two years after the Chinese government torpedoed its record initial public offering. 

Boston-based Fidelity cut its estimate for Ant by about 9% to about $63.8 billion as of the end of November from the end of May, according to Bloomberg calculations based on filings. That’s down from $235 billion just before Ant’s IPO was halted in November 2020. 

Ant has been overhauling its business to comply with government demands, while awaiting a green light to apply for a financial holding company license that would ensure it can continue its fintech operations. In sign of progress, regulators recently allowed the firm’s consumer lending affiliate to increase capital and billionaire Jack Ma said in January that he’s ceding control of Ant. 

Following the move, the Communist Party chief of Hangzhou, where Ant is based, praised the company for following its leadership. 

Still, business has faced setbacks stemming from the regulatory crackdowns and China’s slowing economy. Profit fell 63% in the June quarter. 

Ant didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment outside of normal business hours. 

In a filing in July, affiliate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. reiterated that Ma “intends to reduce and thereafter limit his direct and indirect economic interest in Ant Group over time” to a percentage that doesn’t exceed 8.8%. Ma will also only hold about 6.2% of voting rights after ceding control. 

Ant Chairman Eric Jing has said that the company would eventually go public, but as of January it said it had no plans to initiate an IPO yet. The firm conducted a fundraising round at $45 billion in 2015. –BLOOMBERG