Ant Financial said to be considering higher offer for MoneyGram

Photo: Bloomberg

Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial is considering whether to make a higher offer for MoneyGram International Inc., according to a person familiar with the negotiations, after the U.S. company said a smaller rival’s bid could be a better deal.

In January, China-based Ant Financial announced its plan to acquire MoneyGram for $13.25 a share in cash, pending regulatory approval. Last week, Euronet Worldwide Inc. swooped in with a $15.20-a-share offer, a proposition that “could reasonably be expected” to result in a superior proposal, Dallas-based MoneyGram said Monday in a statement.

Douglas Feagin, Ant’s head of international operations, said he’s “confident” that the deal will go through. It’s likely that Ant Financial will either counter the bid with a higher offer, or say that it will wait until Euronet finishes carrying out its due diligence before delivering a rival bid, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

Formerly a part of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Ant was valued at $75 billion by securities firm CLSA in September. Euronet has a $4.38 billion market value.

Euronet Chief Executive Officer Michael Brown has said that the bid from his Kansas-based company is superior also because it’s more likely to get approved by U.S. regulators.

Analysts have said that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), an inter-agency panel that examines acquisitions of companies by foreign investors for national security concerns, could reject the deal, since it would likely be influenced by Trump’s America First policy.

Yet Ant is confident that the deal will succeed. Ant began the approval process with CFIUS immediately after the bid was announced, and the talks have been “going well” and proceeding as usual, according to people familiar with the matter.

If MoneyGram declares Euronet’s bid superior, Ant will have four days to respond. MoneyGram’s shares rose 0.9 percent to $16.43 at the close in New York. They have more than doubled in the past year.

Ant Financial also plans to keep MoneyGram’s headquarters in Dallas, its management team, and its employees. Euronet said in its takeover announcement that it expected the deal with MoneyGram to have cost synergies of about $60 million. U.S. regulators will also have to weigh Alibaba’s commitment to increasing jobs in the U.S., one of Trump’s chief concerns, the people said. In January, Ma met with Trump to discuss how Alibaba could help create 1 million new U.S. jobs.

Also read:

Ant Financial leads undisclosed Series A round in Youon Bike

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial snaps up US remittance firm MoneyGram for $880m

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.