Partnerships / Acquisitions

Ant Financial Says It’s Committed To MoneyGram (Let The Bidding War Begin)

After Euronet surprised the world yesterday with its unsolicited bid to buy out U.S. money transfer business MoneyGram, Alipay parent Ant Financial has released its official response.

Ant isn’t going anywhere just yet. Ant Financial said it remained committed to its deal.

“MoneyGram and Ant Financial continue to work cooperatively under the terms of our merger agreement, and together, we are making progress on schedule towards obtaining all required regulatory and shareholder approvals,” it said in a statement.

For its part, MoneyGram says it will “carefully review and consider” the proposal from Euronet.

“MoneyGram remains subject to the terms of the definitive merger agreement with Ant Financial and MoneyGram’s board has not changed its recommendation in support of the merger agreement with Ant Financial,” it said.

U.S.-based Euronet argues that it offers MoneyGram’s shareholders both a better buy price ($1 billion to Ant Financial’s $880 million) and an easier path to completion since they will not require approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a U.S. inter-agency panel that reviews foreign acquisitions of domestic assets for national security concerns.

MoneyGram is an attractive takeover option for Euronet, given their similar business interests. Euronet has four money transfer businesses, including Ria, IME, HiFX and XE. Euronet focuses more on independent agents, while MoneyGram targets large retailers and national post offices.

“Euronet is the No.4 traditional offline global player via its Ria brand, so it’s not a surprise they have tried to crash the party,’ said Michael Kent, the CEO of money transfer business Azimo. “Should be a major synergy play there.”

The CFIUS has been a stumbling block for several Chinese deals in the United States and was considered a big hurdle for Ant Financial. A Euronet deal is likely to be more agreeable to U.S. policymakers against a backdrop of rising tensions between China and the United States over trade and foreign policy.

For more on the MoneyGram/Euronet/Alipay corporate love triangle, you can read PYMNTS full coverage here. 

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