MoneyGram, Accepted offer, Ant

Alibaba’s financial services affiliate appears to have prevailed in a bidding war over MoneyGram, the U.S.-based cross-border payments service, after sweetening its offer to $1.2 billion.

Ant Financial raised its offer from $880 million, or $13.25 per share, to $18 per share after U.S.-based Euronet Worldwide made a $15.20 per share bid. MoneyGram’s board on Sunday unanimously approved the revised bid, which represents a 9% to the companys last traded share price on Thursday.

“We believe this transaction will significantly benefit consumers throughout the world who depend on innovative and reliable financial connections to friends and family,” MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes said in a news release.

“We share Ant Financial’s commitment to successfully completing the transaction, which will allow us to grow our business, making money transfers easier for customers and providing a wider selection of services for the agents who serve them around the world,” he added.

Both parties anticipate the deal will be completed in the second half of this year.

Dallas-based MoneyGram provides mostly offline payment services in 350,000 locations across 200 countries and would be Ant’s first major acquisition in the West. According to TechCrunch, most of Ant Financial’s most notable acquisitions and investments so far have been in companies that have similar online services to Alipay, including Kakao Pay in Korea and Paytm in India.

“We look forward to joining forces with MoneyGram, which will add valuable cross-border remittance capabilities to the Ant Financial ecosystem, serving our more than 630 million users globally,” Ant President Doug Feagin said.

The parties said they had already made “significant progress towards obtaining the regulatory approvals necessary to complete the transaction, including obtaining antitrust clearance in the United States and filing for certain state licensing approvals.”

But one major hurdle remaining is approval from the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment.

“CFIUS has been a stumbling block for several Chinese deals in the United States and a deal with Euronet is likely to be more agreeable to U.S. policymakers,” Reuters said.

Euronet said it planned to review the amended merger agreement between Ant and MoneyGram.

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