Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial to acquire MoneyGram in US$880 million deal
Transaction marks Ant Financial's biggest corporate takeover in the United States
Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, has agreed to buy US-based money-transfer provider MoneyGram International in a deal valued at US$880 million.
“The acquisition of MoneyGram is a significant milestone in our mission to bring inclusive financial services to users around the world,” Ant Financial chief executive Eric Jing said in a statement on Thursday.
The transaction marks the second and biggest acquisition made by Ant Financial in the US, following its purchase of biometric security technology company EyeVerify for more than US$100 million last year.
Under their agreement, stockholders of Nasdaq-listed MoneyGram will be offered US$13.25 per share in cash by Ant Financial.
The two companies said their merger will provide consumers in more than 200 countries and territories with convenient and accessible financial services. That will connect MoneyGram’s money transfer network of 2.4 billion bank and mobile accounts, and 350,000 physical locations with Ant Financial’s users.
“We believe financial services should be simple, low-cost and accessible to the many, not the few,” Jing said. “The combination of Ant Financial and MoneyGram will provide greater access, security and simplicity for people around the world to remit funds.”
Ant Financial’s sharpened focus on strategic international acquisitions has been aided by the record US$4.5 billion round of private equity financing it closed in April, which is the single largest private placement by an internet company.
Founded in 1940, MoneyGram went public in 2004 and has since become the second-largest service provider in the nearly US$600 billion-a-year global money transfer industry.
Upon completion of the deal, MoneyGram will retain its brand name and management team.
MoneyGram’s extensive range of services would likely complement Ant Financial’s various businesses, which include Alipay and money market fund Yu’e Bao. Alipay is the payments platform of Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post.