ANT FINANCIAL FACES NEW CHALLENGER FOR MONEYGRAM
Little-known Euronet offers US$1.95 a share more for money-transfer service
SIX weeks after billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial announced a plan to take over MoneyGram International Inc, a little-known Kansas company is swooping in with a higher bid.
Euronet Worldwide Inc was offering US$15.20 (RM67.64) a share for the money-transfer service, topping Ant’s US$13.25 bid, according to a statement.
Shares of MoneyGram jumped 25 per cent to US$15.77, here, after the announcement on Tuesday, suggesting investors expect a bidding war. Euronet rose less than one per cent to US$83.22.
Ant’s plan to take over MoneyGram was presented by the two companies as a fait accompli, with the deal expected to be completed this year once regulators approved it. That acquisition, meant to help Ant expand outside China, probably faces scrutiny from a Treasury Department agency that reviews foreign purchases of United States companies.
Michael Brown, Euronet’s chief executive officer, said his bid was superior because it was more likely to get approved.
“The Ant Financial transaction is fraught with uncertainty and challenges at every level,” said Brown.
MoneyGram said it would consult outside advisers to review the offer and determine what would best serve the interests of the company and its shareholders. In the meantime, the board hasn’t changed its earlier recommendation supporting a combination with Ant.
Ant said it was still working with MoneyGram towards completing their deal in the second half of this year.
“We are making progress on schedule towards obtaining all required regulatory and shareholder approvals. Ant Financial remains highly committed to the consummation of our merger with MoneyGram,” it said. Bloomberg
Ant Financial Services Group, which operates the Alipay online payment platform, says it is working with MoneyGram towards completing the takeover deal in the second half of this year.