ANT FI­NAN­CIAL FACES NEW CHAL­LENGER FOR MONEYGRAM

Lit­tle-known Euronet of­fers US$1.95 a share more for money-trans­fer ser­vice

New Straits Times - - Business -

NEW YORK

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

BLOOMBERG PIC

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.

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