Ant Group to restructure under central bank agreement

BEIJING (Reuters) - Ant Group, the fintech affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, will restructure as a financial holding company, China's central bank said on Monday, Ant has formed a "comprehensive and feasible restructuring plan," at the urging of financial regulators, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said.

Under terms of the agreement with the central bank, Ant will cut "improper" linkage between payments service AliPay, virtual credit card product Jiebei and consumer loan product Huabei, the PBOC said.

The central bank also asked Ant to break its "monopoly on information and strictly comply with the requirements of credit information business regulation."

The company agreed to improve corporate governance and "rectify illegal financial activities in credit, insurance and wealth management", the central bank said.

The central bank said it also asked Ant to control its leverage and product risks, and control the liquidity risk of its flagship fund products and to "actively lower" the size of its massive Yu'eBao money market fund.

Regulators derailed Ant's planned US$37bil stock listing last November, days before it was due to list in what would have been the world's largest IPO.

(Reporting by Tony Munroe, Cheng Leng and Stella Qiu; editing by Catherine Evans and Jason Neely)

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