|Bid||0.00 x 0|
|Ask||0.00 x 0|
|Day's range||46.40 - 48.39|
|52-week range||37.25 - 59.24|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.09|
|PE ratio (TTM)||N/A|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||N/A|
(Bloomberg) -- Ant Group Co. told employees it would eventually go public and promised to help those who need to monetize their shares sooner, seeking to boost morale four months after Chinese regulators torpedoed the fintech giant’s blockbuster listing.A “short-term liquidity solution” for employees will take effect in April, Ant Chairman Eric Jing said in a recent posting on the company’s internal website, according to people familiar with the matter.Ant suspended a share buyback program for current and departing staff in July to prepare for an initial public offering, people familiar with the decision said, but has so far struggled to revive the program in part because of a lack of clarity over how to price the shares.The future of Jack Ma’s company -- and thus its valuation -- remains shrouded in uncertainty as regulators sort through details of a fintech industry overhaul that led to the abrupt suspension of Ant’s $35 billion IPO in November. The hazy outlook has raised the risk of employee discontent: Ant is bracing for departures after it pays bonuses in April, people familiar with matter said, asking not to be named discussing private information.Few doubt that the company’s prospects have worsened dramatically since China began tightening regulations on the fintech industry, but the opacity surrounding the new rules has made it difficult to put a number on the damage. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Francis Chan, for instance, has lowered his estimate for Ant’s valuation three times since the IPO was scuttled. He now pegs the company’s net worth at less than $108 billion, about 60% lower than the level implied by Ant’s listing plan last year.Meanwhile, several Chinese tech giants that compete with Jack Ma’s businesses for talent have seen their shares soar in recent months, generating big gains for employees with stock options. Arch-rival Tencent Holdings Ltd. has climbed about 16% in Hong Kong trading over the past four months, while E-commerce giant Meituan has jumped 25%. Kuaishou Technology has surged 173% since its February listing.Some Ant employees who joined the company in the run-up to the planned IPO have quit rather than hold out for a revival of the listing, people familiar with the matter said. Others are stressing over their personal finances after buying cars or paying down payments on new homes in anticipation that the IPO would be a success, one person said.While employee holdings would have been subject to a three-year lockup had Ant’s listing gone ahead in November, many anticipated the stock’s value would continue climbing after the IPO. That view is now far less prevalent.In one sign that Ant has yet to resolve its issues with regulators, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday that China’s central bank is unhappy with the company’s progress on requests to share more consumer data with the government.Ant declined to comment.The company’s solution for employees will likely be to buy back some of their shares, Dow Jones reported on Tuesday, citing people close to Ant. Dow Jones was the first to report Jing’s comments.Many of Ant’s 16,000-plus employees have been granted restricted stock options known as Share Economic Rights (SERs), each representing 5.53 shares.The awards, which account for a significant portion of total compensation for some employees, are usually subject to a four-year vesting schedule, with 25% free from the lockup upon the first anniversary and 25% every year thereafter.Before Ant’s buyback program was halted, departing employees would sell shares back to the company at a valuation in line with the company’s most-recent funding round, while existing employees could participate in periodic buyback rounds, people familiar with the matter said. Ant was valued at $150 billion in a 2018 financing.Outstanding SERs totaled 114 million at the end of June, according to the latest data disclosed by Ant. If valued at the company’s planned IPO price in November, they would have been worth a combined 43 billion yuan ($6.7 billion).Given the ongoing regulatory clampdown, it’s unclear how long it might take for authorities to sign off on a revival of Ant’s listing. In any case, employees are likely looking at a substantially reduced payout when they’re eventually allowed to cash in.That will make it tougher for Ant to retain talent, though for the opposite reason envisioned by the company in its IPO prospectus last year.“We have a number of employees, including many members of management, whose economic interests in our company could give them a substantial amount of personal wealth,” Ant said on the eve of what it expected to be a historic listing. “If we are unable to motivate or retain these employees, our business may be severely disrupted and our prospects could suffer.”(Recasts with comments by Ant chairman from first paragraph, adds FT report in 9th paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Kuaishou Technology, the operator of China’s most popular short-video service after ByteDance Ltd.’s Douyin, jumped 161% in its Hong Kong debut after a $5.4 billion initial public offering that attracted hundreds of billions of dollars of orders.The shares closed at HK$300 after rising to as high as HK$345, compared with the IPO price of HK$115, valuing the Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed firm at $159 billion. The company sold shares at the top of its price range in a deal that ranks as the world’s biggest internet IPO since Uber Technologies Inc.’s $8.1 billion U.S. share sale in May 2019.That spectacular rise confers on Kuaishou a price tag nearing TikTok’s parent ByteDance -- which last sought funds at a $180 billion valuation -- and ushers the nine-year-old video app into the ranks of China’s largest tech corporations. Once known for peddling quirky depictions of rural Chinese life, Kuaishou cements its place among a generation of mega-startups like food delivery giant Meituan and ride-hailing leader Didi Chuxing that grew up in the years after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent.The 161% first-day gain gives Kuaishou the second-best debut ever for an IPO over $1 billion in the world, data compiled by Bloomberg show. It joins an already long list of floats that have popped on their first day of trading in recent months amid a glut of liquidity and ultra-low interest rates.Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp. and China Renaissance were joint sponsors of the deal. The stock could be added to the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index later this month if its market value ranks among the gauge’s 10 highest as of Friday’s close.The stellar debut will be an encouraging sign for larger rival ByteDance, which is said to be in discussions to list some of its assets in Hong Kong. Long a rumored IPO candidate, the TikTok owner was bogged down last year in fighting a U.S. ban on its globally popular app after being labeled a national security threat.“A successful listing by Kuaishou will pave the way for its larger rival,” said Bloomberg Intelligence senior analyst Vey-Sern Ling. “Douyin will be more motivated to come to the market and investors can get better insight into China’s short-video industry with Kuaishou’s regular disclosures going forward.”Breaking RecordsKuaishou’s coming-out party broke records in Hong Kong for the number of retail investors subscribing to its shares and the amount pledged in the process. About 1.4 million mom-and-pop investors -- one of every five people in the city -- submitted HK$1.26 trillion ($163 billion) of orders, while institutional buyers stumped up almost $200 billion.The demand matched the frenzy for the Hong Kong leg of Ant Group Co.’s mega IPO, which drew in HK$1.3 trillion of bids for its retail tranche, before the planned $17.2 billion offering collapsed.“Growth tech companies are still very much in demand,” said Gary Dugan, chief executive officer at the Global CIO Office in Singapore. “With the world still struggling with the Covid crisis, investors remain focused and investing more in tech stocks that have a strong growth story. Hence, we expect demand for these types of IPOs to remain strong and likely early trading share price premiums to tend to be extraordinary.”BillionairesFounded by former Google employee Su Hua and Cheng Yixiao as an app built around sharing animated GIF images, Kuaishou pivoted to short video in 2013 and added live streaming in 2016, landing footholds in what eventually became two of the hottest social media formats in the world.With the pop, Su’s net worth rose to $18.7 billion, while Cheng was worth $13.1 billion. The fortune of two other company executives got boosted to more than $2.7 billion each.The firm had 264 million average daily active users on its main Kuaishou app as of November 2020, according to its prospectus, less than half the 600 million on Douyin. Still, it’s been growing fast.Revenues climbed 49% to 40.7 billion yuan ($6.3 billion) in the first nine months of last year, after the company ratcheted up monetization efforts through advertising and e-commerce. While Kuaishou offers free access to its main platform, the startup takes a cut of the tips users give to their favorite live-streamers who perform viral challenges, lip-synch to the latest pop songs and play video games.“Kuaishou’s business model is unique and there’s a certain degree of stickiness in the user base” because the content providers are from rural areas, said Kerry Goh, chief investment officer at Kamet Capital Partners Pte, which participated in the IPO. “Investors are prescribing a huge premium to businesses that are unique in this low interest rate environment.”(Updates throughout)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- China pledged to deepen antitrust enforcement across emergent sectors including on-demand internet services, broadening a campaign to rein in the growing power of private firms.China “resolutely” opposes monopolies and unfair competition and will step up regulation in sectors such as platform businesses, according to a plan released by the general offices of the powerful Communist Party Central Committee and the State Council, the cabinet.Contained within a broad set of guidelines intended to enforce “high standards” in Chinese finance and markets, the agencies singled out a so-called gig economy as one area that needed more oversight. The industry typically encompasses services such as Didi Chuxing-led ride-hailing, food and grocery delivery that’s the province of Meituan, or Airbnb-style operators like Tujia.Beijing has signaled its intention of curbing the mounting influence of private tech giants across the world’s No. 2 economy, scrapping Ant Group Co.’s record initial public offering and publishing new rules preceding an anti-monopoly investigation into e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Investors worry about what’s next for China’s biggest tech players, which have enjoyed unusual freedom to invest and expand into a plethora of adjacent arenas such as healthcare and online finance.The government didn’t single out any firms in its broadly worded action plan published over the weekend. Authorities will improve rules to identify monopolistic platform companies and regulate consumer data collection and use, the agencies said. The government will also roll out guidelines to help Chinese companies meet antitrust rules overseas.The action plan serves as a roadmap for the integration of an “efficient market and effective government” as China plans its economy for the next half-decade, state news agency Xinhua said in a commentary Sunday. The 51-point plan targeted areas where regulations are weakest and ordinary market development most curtailed, Xinhua added.What Is Behind China’s Crackdown on Its Tech Giants: QuickTakeChinese officials have in recent months zeroed in on an evolving online tech and finance sphere that Jack Ma’s Ant, before regulators scrapped its $35 billion IPO and initiated an overhaul, was making rapid inroads into. Fintech players are now rushing to shore up their capital, mulling how to restructure their businesses, and bracing for more turbulence as industry watchdogs examine everything from lending practices to banking partnerships to data privacy.Last week, China’s finance ministry and market regulator published a set of rules that went into effect Monday, empowering their local offices to apply for funding for antitrust investigations and enforcement. Beijing has so far focused on the risks posed in particular by consumer lending -- another area in which Ant dominated.In its weekend statement, the government said it will further open financial markets in areas such as interbank and exchange-traded bonds, while promoting an IPO system with “zero tolerance” for transgressions.Other key points of the action plan for markets include:Stepping up oversight of China’s capital market and a strict implementation of delisting rulesAllowing pension funds and insurance companies to boost share of equities in their investment portfoliosFurther reducing the negative list for foreign investmentsSupporting privately-owned and foreign-invested financial institutions to be lead underwriters of non-financial bonds on China’s interbank marketBoosting monitoring of commodity and capital market risks, and drafting contingency plans to deal with major shocksRead more: China’s Startups Hope Tech Crackdown Creates New OpportunitiesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.