Jack Mae offered China parts of the ant group to save the IPO

In early November, when Jack Ma was trying to protect his relations with Beijing, according to people familiar with the matter, the Chinese billionaire offered to hand over parts of his financial-technology company, Ant Group, to the Chinese government.

People said, you can take any ant platform as long as the country needs it, “Ma, China’s richest man, proposes an unusual sit-down with regulators,” people said.

The previously undisclosed offer appeared to be a kind of Maya Kalpa from Ma as she was meeting face-to-face with officials from China’s central bank and securities, banking and insurance oversight agencies. The November 2 meeting took place just days before Antony was scheduled to go public, with the world’s largest initial public offering being made.

Mae angered Beijing in a speech in President Xi Jinping’s signature campaign to control financial risks in October, saying innovation was stalled. Now, regulators have called a meeting to raise their concerns about the ant’s commercial model.

His olive-branch offer at the meeting failed to save the IPO and since then Beijing has begun efforts to rein in China’s big tech giants.

People close to China’s financial regulators say the decision has not been taken. A plan is being considered in which, people said, ants are subject to strict capital and profit rules. Under this condition, state banks or other types of state investors will buy ants as a result of strict regulations.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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