It was supposed to be the world's largest IPO ever...
but in a dramatic turn of events, just two days before China's Ant Group's blockbuster $37 billion dual-listing set for Thursday, The Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges on Tuesday slammed the breaks on the upcoming debut for the fintech giant.
The stunning IPO suspension came one day afterAnt's billionaire founder Jack Ma was summoned to a meeting with Chinese financial regulators, which the Shanghai stock exchange described as a "major event."
Sources told Reuters that Ma was told at that meeting the company's lucrative online lending business faced tighter government scrutiny.
After the meeting, Ant said it may not meet listing qualifications or disclosure requirements.
Ma’s meeting with regulators came on the same day Chinese authorities published new draft rules for online micro-lending.
He recently bashed tighter Chinese financial regulations on fintech companies, which he has called outdated and badly suited to industry innovation.
Ant sincerely apologized to investors for any inconvenience caused by the suspension and said it will keep in close communication with the Shanghai stock exchange and relevant regulators.
With Ant's record-setting IPO for Thursday now cancelled, investors are taking out their frustrations on Ant's sister company Alibaba.
Shares of the online marketplace tumbled 9 percent in U.S. trade, wiping out $76 billion in market value, that’s more than double the amount Ant was supposed to raise in its IPO.