Alibaba-affiliate Ant Financial has upped its ante for MoneyGram International by more than third, safely sidelining the latest competing offer made by a US rival.
The Chinese fintech firm lifted its bid for MoneyGram to $18 per share in cash, for a 9% premium to the US payment giant’s trading price on Thursday.
The move also lift’s Ants bid for MoneyGram by 36%, putting its value at $1.2 billion.
US-headquartered Euronet Worldwide Inc. recently sought to scupper Ant’s planned acquisition of MoneyGram with an unsolicited offer of $15.20 per share.
Euronet has been aggressive in its efforts to overturn Ant’s bid, by lobbying US legislators and openly calling the acquisition a potential national security risk.
According to Euronet the acquisition of MoneyGram by Chinese parties could undermine investigations into money laundering as well as “terrorist” financing.
Ant has countered the accusations by emphasising that MoneyGram will continue to function independently, and that any data it gathers on state-side users will remain sequestered in US servers.
The Alibaba affiliate hopes that the MoneyGram’s international remittance network will abet its plans to forge a global payments system that it’s already sought to cement with a string of recent Asian acquisitions.
These grand ambitions could still run around on by regulatory barriers, particularly given the recent penchant of legislators and US Committee on Foreign Investment’s (CFIUS) for blocking big Chinese acquisitions.
Anbang Insurance Group recently let its $1.6 billion bid for Fidelity & Guaranty Life slip, after US state regulators blocked planned acquisition.
Analysts believe, however, that regulatory hurdles may not be such an issue for Ant, particularly given MoneyGram’s likely enthusiasm for the thickly fattened offer.