A touch of (dual) class

Allowing the listing of Alibaba on its own terms would have undermined the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s reputation.

It might be too late for Alibaba but Hong Kong Exchanges Clearing is reportedly going to launch its consultation on non-standard shareholding structures soon.

The Asian Corporate Governance Association ACGA strongly supports equal treatment for all shareholders on voting and other rights. 

The fact that Hong Kong does not allow such dual-class share structures led Alibaba and its bankers last year to negotiate with the Hong Kong regulators and explore other mechanisms through which control could be retained, such as a deal allowing Jack Ma and his management partners to control nominations to the company’s board, or even grant exemptions to so-called “innovative companies”.

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