(Bloomberg) — The mid-level bureaucrats left China’s richest man waiting as they prepared for a meeting that would send shockwaves across the financial world.
It was Monday morning in Beijing, and Jack Ma had been summoned to a conference room at the China Securities Regulatory Commission just days before he was set to take Ant Group Co. public in the biggest stock-market debut of all time.
When the bureaucrats finally turned up, they skipped over pleasantries and delivered an ominous message: Ant’s days of relaxed government oversight and minimal capital requirements were over. The meeting ended without a discussion of Ant’s IPO, but it was a sign that things might not go as planned.
The subsequent unraveling of the $35 billion share sale has thrust Ma’s fintech giant into turmoil, offering a stark reminder that even China’s most celebrated businessman isn’t immune to the…