Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial ‘will push for third time’ to get US approval of MoneyGram deal
Reports come amid greater scrutiny of Chinese investments in the United States this year
Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, will attempt for the third time to get approval from authorities for its takeover of United States payments firm MoneyGram International, according to media reports, amid greater scrutiny of Chinese investments in the US.
In April, MoneyGram, a US-based money transfer service, accepted a US$1.2 billion takeover offer from Ant Financial. The deal is considered sensitive as it will give a Chinese company access to the US financial infrastructure.
Ant Financial, which operates China’s biggest online payments platform Alipay, is now preparing to resubmit its application for review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), according to Bloomberg and Reuters which quoted people familiar with the matter.
CFIUS is the body responsible for making a ruling on whether a deal threatens US security.
Both Ant Financial and MoneyGram filed for CFIUS approval soon after the deal was agreed upon, but this was not granted within the 75-day period. They submitted an application again, but reports said they had not received the green light despite the second 75-day period coming to an end soon.
Other cases of Chinese investment in the United States have also come under scrutiny. On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump blocked the Chinese-owned Canyon Bridge Fund’s acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor Corporation on the grounds of national security, after the deal failed to obtain approval from CFIUS.
A CFIUS filing is a voluntary procedure, but the US president has the right to block any non-CFIUS approved deal on the basis of national security.
Chinese conglomerate HNA Group’s acquisition of US fund management firm SkyBridge Capital is also awaiting regulatory approval. On July 28, SkyBridge said that it was hopeful the deal would get the go-ahead within 45 days.
Ant Financial said in a statement: “We are not commenting on the CFIUS process, but we are continuing to work with the various regulatory agencies and remain focused on closing the transaction by the end of the year.”
The company is a financial affiliate of Alibaba Group, which also owns the South China Morning Post.