March 14, 2017
By Jim Daly
Ant Financial Services Group issued its first comments late Tuesday on Euronet Worldwide Inc.’s surprise $1 billion bid earlier in the day for MoneyGram International Inc., the wire-transfer provider for which Ant Financial bid $880 million in January.
"Ant Financial remains highly committed to the consummation of our merger with MoneyGram,” the Hangzhou, China-based e-commerce payment-services giant said in a statement. “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.”
Ant Financial also said it and Dallas-based MoneyGram “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.”
MoneyGram also issued a statement Tuesday evening confirming that it received an “unsolicited proposal from Euronet Worldwide” to acquire all of its common and preferred shares for $15.20 per share on an as-converted basis. MoneyGram said its board of directors “will carefully review and consider the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of the company and its stockholders.”
But MoneyGram also said it remains subject to terms of its agreement with Ant Financial, which has offered $13.25 per share, and that the board “has not changed its recommendation in support of the merger agreement with Ant Financial.”
Leawood, Kan.-based Euronet, which owns the Ria wire-transfer service, said that in addition to its higher dollar value, its offer is subject to fewer closing conditions such as review by a federal inter-agency committee that monitors proposed acquisitions of U.S. firms by foreign ones.
Analyst Lawrence Berlin, a vice president at Chicago-based First Analysis Securities Corp., says it’s likely Ant Financial is mulling the possibility of upping its bid for MoneyGram.
“I think they’ve got to be re-exploring it, they’ve got to be considering it because it [MoneyGram] is a good property,” Berlin tells Digital Transactions News.
MoneyGram, he adds, has been a leader in bringing mobile technology to the agent-dominated traditional wire-transfer business.
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