China's Ant Financial is flexing its international muscle by agreeing to buy US money transfer service MoneyGram in a cash deal worth $880 million.
The definitive agreement, called a merger, will see MoneyGram stockholders offered $13.25 a share in cash. Shares in MoneyGram closed Wednesday at $11.88.
Alibaba unit Ant Financial says that the transaction will connect its hundreds of millions of users with MoneyGram’s money transfer network of 2.4 billion bank and mobile accounts and 350,000 physical locations.
Just last week Ant CEO Eric Jing talked up the company's international ambitions, promising to use its huge cash pile to boost user numbers to two billion people within the next decade.
MoneyGram will remain headquartered in Dallas and continue to operate under its existing brand, led by CEO Alex Holmes.
The US outfit says it will tap Ant Financial’s global presence and existing network to serve more than 630 million users - including 450 million with mobile wallet Alipay and 180 million with Indian m-payment provider Paytm - to increase its business in Asia.
Says Jing: "The acquisition of MoneyGram is a significant milestone in our mission to bring inclusive financial services to users around the world. We believe financial services should be simple, low-cost and accessible to the many, not the few.
"The combination of Ant Financial and MoneyGram will provide greater access, security and simplicity for people around the world to remit funds, especially in major economies such as the United States, China, India, Mexico and the Philippines."