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China Accepts Ant’s Financial Holding Bid, Reuters Says

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(Bloomberg) -- China’s central bank has agreed to accept Ant Group Co.’s application to set up a financial holding company, Reuters reported, clearing a path for the fintech giant to potentially revive its listing plans following a lengthy regulatory overhaul.

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The People’s Bank of China’s acceptance signals that approvals are expected and Ant is poised to emerge from a regulatory crackdown, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which owns part of Ant, surged more than 9% in pre-market trading in New York.

China Weighs Reviving Jack Ma’s Ant IPO as Crackdown Eases

Beijing has promised to unwind crackdowns that torpedoed Ant’s record initial public offering in 2020 and ensnared every sector from online education to gaming. Once Ant is able to set up the financial holding company, it can fold key operations into the entity, following a framework laid down by the central bank last year.

A meaningful relaxation of curbs on Ant and Didi Global Inc. -- the most high-profile casualties of President Xi Jinping’s sweeping clampdown on the country’s tech giants -- would send a powerful signal that policy makers are following through on recent pledges to support the industry. The Communist Party’s evolving stance toward the private sector has become one of the most closely watched developments in global markets in recent years, with some observers even calling China’s sprawling internet sector uninvestable.

While Ant said in June it has no plans to initiate an IPO, the company’s Chairman Eric Jing said last year that the company would eventually go public.

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