Trump administration should seek to delay IPO of China’s Ant Financial: Senator Rubio

FAN Editor
FILE PHOTO: Employee stands next to the logo of Ant Financial Services Group at its headquarters in Hangzhou, China
FILE PHOTO: An employee stands next to the logo of Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba’s financial affiliate, at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Shu Zhang/File Photo

October 9, 2020

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senator Marco Rubio, who has successfully urged the Trump administration to pursue probes into Chinese companies, called on Friday for the U.S. government to consider options to delay an initial public offering for China’s Ant Financial, the fintech arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba <9988.HK>.

“It’s outrageous that Wall Street is rewarding the Chinese Communist Party’s blatant crackdown on Hong Kong’s freedom and autonomy by orchestrating Ant Group’s IPO on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges,” Rubio, a Republican, said in a statement to Reuters.

“The Administration should take a serious look at the options available to delay Ant Group’s IPO,” he added.

The Hong Kong leg of the IPO is being sponsored by China International Capital Corp (CICC) <3908.HK>, Citigroup <C.N>, JPMorgan <JPM.N>, and Morgan Stanley <MS.N>. Credit Suisse <CSGN.S> is working as a joint global co-ordinator. Goldman Sachs <GS.N> has also joined the list.

It was not immediately clear how the U.S. government could postpone the listing of a Chinese company abroad.

The offering, estimated to be worth up to $30 billion, could attract scores of U.S. investors.

Ant Financial, based in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, is 33% owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and is controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Ant Financial did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rubio’s remarks are a sign of growing pressure among China hardliners in Congress, within the administration and elsewhere for President Donald Trump to sanction Ant Financial before it lists later this month.

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Paul Simao)

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