Alipay owner Ant Financial issued an open letter in the US media extolling the virtues of its proposed merger with remittance firm MoneyGram, while an attempt to hijack the deal by Euronet reportedly hit problems.
The letter, placed by the company in a number of US media outlets and addressed to the “MoneyGram community”, outlined Ant’s commitment to increasing US jobs and launching new services in the country, and highlighted the success of its previous US acquisition, EyeVerify.
In the letter, Ant Financial’s international president Doug Feagin wrote: “As we make progress toward closing, our commitment to completing this agreed merger is unwavering. We look forward to welcoming you to the Ant Financial team by the end of the year.”
MoneyGram is seen as a vital strategic asset to China’s Ant, and would see it gain increased access to the US market through the use of a well-known brand name.
Ant’s $880 million bid for the company was accepted by MoneyGram shareholders in January, although the deal faces a number of regulatory hurdles. This includes sign-off from the Committee for Foreign Investment in the US – an agency concerned with the national security implications of M&A from non-US companies.
War of words
In March, US payments firm Euronet launched its own bid for MoneyGram. It offered to increase Ant’s bid and promised a smoother transaction as it would have fewer regulatory hurdles to clear.
Euronet then signed a non-disclosure agreement, which would allow it to view non-public financial information on MoneyGram – a step needed to conduct the necessary due diligence to finalise its rival bid.
However, according to reports in Bloomberg earlier this week, Euronet is yet to secure access to the required data, potentially scuppering its attempts to complete a swift deal. In the meantime, Euronet pulled no punches in trying to get Ant’s bid turned down by authorities.
Last week, Reuters reported Euronet representatives had written to US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin urging him to fully scrutinise the Ant bid, as they believed it raised “significant national security risks”.