US payments firm Euronet bettered Ant Financial’s offer to acquire remittance company MoneyGram, offering shareholders 15 per cent more and promising a significantly more certain path to closing.

Ant Financial, which owns Chinese mobile wallet company Alipay, agreed an $880 million deal for MoneyGram in January, a move which is still awaiting sign-off from regulators and the Committee for Foreign Investment in the US – an agency concerned with the national security implications of transactions with companies based abroad.

The company’s offer was yesterday bested by Euronet, which supplies cashpoint technology, point of sale infrastructure and B2B money transfer services.

Euronet told MoneyGram shareholders a deal with a US-based company would face fewer regulatory hurdles and the path to closing would be significantly smoother.

Ant today reiterated its intention to complete the deal. In a statement the company said: “Ant Financial remains highly committed to the consummation of our merger with MoneyGram. This combination would bring together our complementary businesses and provide substantial benefits to MoneyGram’s stockholders, customers and employees as MoneyGram leverages our platform of 630 million users worldwide.

“MoneyGram and Ant Financial continue to work cooperatively under the terms of our merger agreement, and together, we are making progress on schedule towards obtaining all required regulatory and shareholder approvals. We continue to anticipate closing our transaction with MoneyGram in the second half of 2017.”

Ant’s bid for MoneyGram was seen as a key route for the Chinese company into the US market, combining its technology with a reputable domestic name.

In recent months Ant sought to increase its presence outside its home market, increasing the number of Alipay markets into Europe and North America, and making significant investments in wallet and payment companies in neighbouring markets.