Ant Makes A Strategic Investment In A Technology News Site

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  • Ant invested in tech news platform 36Kr in 2015 and held a 15.1% stake in the company, 36Kr’s filing shows.
  • On Friday, shares of 36Kr closed at US$0.64, down over 90% since it went public on Nasdaq in November 2019.
  • Guo said there were still some issues to be resolved, but he did not elaborate.

Ant bought a 15.1% stake in tech news site 36Kr in 2015, according to 36Kr’s registration as reported by SCMP. 

Regulatory environment

Ant Group, the fintech group affiliated with Alibaba Group Holding, has sold its entire stake in a Chinese tech news portal, according to a corporate filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, marking its latest restructuring amid a tougher regulatory environment.

Ant invested in tech news platform 36Kr in 2015 and held a 15.1% stake in the company, 36Kr’s filing shows.

On Friday, shares of 36Kr closed at US$0.64, down over 90% since it went public on Nasdaq in November 2019.

Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

The divestment in 36Kr is the latest move in the fintech group’s efforts to streamline its investment portfolio, as part of a major restructuring in the wake of the cancellation of its mega IPO in Hong Kong and Shanghai in late 2020 amid regulatory uncertainties.

Self-inspection 

Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Regulatory Commission, said at a press conference in Beijing this month that Ant Group’s “self-inspection” work is almost done and that progress on rectification at Ant has been “smooth”.

Guo said there were still some issues to be resolved, but he did not elaborate.

The last-minute withdrawal of Ant’s IPO and subsequent structural change – including bringing its core businesses under the same regulatory oversight as traditional banking services – is seen as a test case of Beijing’s efforts to rein in what it has called the “irrational expansion” of capital.

Alibaba’s stock price in Hong Kong plunged 10.9% on Monday to HK$80.9 per share, down almost three quarters from a peak hit in October 2020.

Smart choice

Cao Lei, director of the China E-commerce Research Centre, said selling the 36Kr stake was a “smart choice” for Ant in terms of complying with regulations.

Dong said it was highly likely that Alibaba would further shrink its investment portfolio and “turn back to its e-commerce roots”.

In September last year, Alibaba sold its entire stake in Mango Excellent Media Co at a loss of 2.3 billion yuan (US$356 million).

After a severe crackdown in 2021, China’s tech industry remains under pressure.

For example, during this year’s “two sessions” political gathering, delegates in Beijing said that even more stringent rules were needed in the video gaming industry to prevent “addiction” among minors.

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Source: SCMP