Ant Financial, the Chinese payment unit of Alibaba, is gearing up to resubmit to the U.S. its application to purchase MoneyGram International.
Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday (Sept. 15) that the two companies resubmitted for deal clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The move was prompted by its inability to obtain clearance the first time around, as Reuters reported in July. “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 said in a statement to Reuters.
This marks the third time Ant Financial has sought approval from the CFIUS for the $1.2 billion deal, in which Ant would acquire MoneyGram of Dallas. The deal was originally inked back in April after Ant raised its bid by more than a third to exceed Euronet Worldwide, the competing bidder.
According to a recent report in the The New York Post, citing two sources with direct knowledge of the CFIUS’s thinking, the government agency has shifted its focus to foreign threats of identity fraud and data theft in the wake of the Equifax breach, which could hurt the deal between Ant and MoneyGram. The data breach exposed the names, birthdates and Social Security numbers of approximately 143 million U.S. consumers, as well as the credit card numbers of approximately 209,000 people.
The panel has already established a tough stance on acquisitions by Chinese companies of U.S. firms. President Donald Trump’s administration recently backed its recommendation and blocked a Chinese-backed investor from acquiring Lattice Semiconductor. The proposed buyer of Lattice Semiconductor, private equity firm Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, has a Chinese investor, Yitai Venture Capital, which was expected to invest in the deal. “It is getting harder and harder for China to get deals done here,” a source working on the MoneyGram review said.