Jack Ma-backed Ant weighs exiting personal credit firm Baihang

Ant Group Co. is considering selling its stake in Baihang Credit Co., a personal credit reporting company, as it awaits a license approval for another similar entity, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

The company will need to offload its 8% holding because of policy guidance that entities can only hold one license in each business category, the person said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. 

Ant didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment. 

Ant also holds a 35% stake in Qiantang, which has applied to become the third firm with a license to conduct personal credit assessments. Central bank Governor Pan Gongsheng said in January that the People’s Bank of China was working with the Zhejiang government to provide guidance on the application.

Founded in 2018, Baihang was set up under the guidance of the central bank, with government-backed industry group National Internet Finance Association of China owning a 36% stake. Ant and Tencent Holdings Ltd. were among the other eight shareholders that each owned 8%. 

Caixin reported earlier that Ant was in discussions to sell its stake to Tencent. 

Tencent didn’t immediately respond to an emailed query. 

Qiantang currently has 1 billion yuan ($138 billion) in registered capital with the Zhejiang Tourism Investment Group owning 35% of the company. Other investors include the Zhejiang Electronic Port and Hangzhou Finance & Investing Group. 

More than three years since regulators nixed Ant’s initial public offering, the company is still awaiting regulatory approval for a financial holding license which would pave the way for a revival of its listing. –BLOOMBERG