Source: CNBC.com

Ant Financial – the affiliate company of Alibaba that is focused on financial services – has been trying to acquire MoneyGram – the U.S.-based cross-border payments service – for a long time but it was facing tough competition from the U.S.-based Euronet. Now, the financial service of the e-commerce giant is appearing to have finally won its fight to acquire MoneyGram after increasing its bid to $1.2 billion.

Ant Financial raised its bid to buy MoneyGram by 36%

Back in January, the initial bid of the Chinese firm was $880 million for MoneyGram but now it has hiked its offer from $880 million – at $13.25 per share for NASDAQ-listed MoneyGram – to $1.2 billion – at $18 per share for MoneyGram. The decision to increase the bid came after the U.S.-based Euronet lodged a counter bid in March.

The American company ‘Euronet’ offered to pay $1 billion for the cross-border payments service. Further, the company played up concerns about the potential of MoneyGram after being bought by a Chinese company. The new offer of Ant Financial represent 64% premium to the average share of MoneyGram’s price. Also, according to the reports by tech news site TechCrunch, the offer has “been unanimously approved by MoneyGram’s board, while a collection of shareholders who own 46 percent of voting rights have also given it the nod.”

The Chinese firm, on its side, said “We have already made significant progress towards obtaining the regulatory approvals necessary to complete the transaction.” Apparently, that includes some state-level approvals and anti-trust clearance in the United States.

Will the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment give its approval?

Now, the only big hindrance is the approval from the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment. Euronet has chances to change the mind of the committee by raising concerns again.

In a statement, Ant Financial International President Doug Feagin said that they have enjoyed working closely with the MoneyGram team over the past few months and they remain committed to their plans to invest further in the MoneyGram business. Mr. Feagin added, “We plan to grow the U.S.-based team and create even greater opportunities for the MoneyGram community as we pursue our shared vision of global inclusive finance in an increasingly digital era.”

Both Ant Financial and MoneyGram hope that the deal will be completed by the second half of this year. They said that the U.S.-based payments service will operate as an independent subsidiary that retains its management, brand, infrastructure and headquarters in Texas.

Currently, the most notable investment by the China-based firm has been in countries like Indonesia, Thailand, India, and Korea. The investments are in online services similar to AliPay like Paytm in India and Kakao Pay in Korea. Ant Financial CEO Eric Jing said in an interview in January that MoneyGram would allow them to offer more money transfers in India, U.S., Mexico, the Philippines and China.

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