Ant-Financial

Ant Financial, the Jack Ma-owned fintech company, has acquired the US-based money transfer service MoneyGram in a deal worth about US$880 million.

The acquisition marks a significant step into the Western market for Ant, which has never acquired a US-listed company. Ant was spun off from Alibaba ahead of the e-commerce giant’s IPO in 2014 and has grown into the most dominant fintech company in Asia.

In September 2016, Ant made its first foray into the US through a much smaller deal when it purchased the eye-scanning technology startup EyeVerify.

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“The acquisition of MoneyGram is a significant milestone in our mission to bring inclusive financial services to users around the world,” said Ant Financial CEO Eric Jing in a statement.

“We are committed to continuing to invest in MoneyGram’s workforce and growing jobs in the United States, where MoneyGram has made a mark with outstanding customer service, innovative products and industry-leading technology and compliance programs,” he added.

For MoneyGram, the company will remain headquartered in Dallas, Texas and continue to operate under its brand. MoneyGram’s service allows people to transfer money via desktop or mobile and helps users with bill payments, money orders and it can process official cheques in some markets. It has a global reach.

This deal will significantly increase MoneyGram’s transaction volume as it will add a network of up to 630 million Ant users into its network.

As part of the acquisition, Ant Financial will buy all of MoneyGram’s common and preferred shares on a diluted basis and cover or refinance its debt. Subject to shareholder agreement and regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to be officially closed in the second half of 2017.

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Stockholders are being offered US$13.25 per share.

Alex Holmes will stay on board as the CEO of MoneyGram.