US-based money transfer service provider MoneyGram has entered into a “definitive agreement” to merge its operations with Alibaba Group’s fintech arm Ant Financial. The deal is valued at $880 million for all of MoneyGram’s common and preferred shares on a fully diluted basis. Ant Financial will assume ownership of all outstanding debt under MoneyGram. The transaction has been approved by the board of directors at MoneyGram and is now pending approval from stockholders and other regulatory authorities.
The deal will merge MoneyGram’s money transfer network of 2.4 billion bank and mobile accounts and 350,000 physical locations in over 200 countries with Ant Financial’s users. MoneyGram which has its headquarters in Dallas will continue to operate independently under its existing brand name and management team. The company’s money transfer service will also be able to tap the 450 million users registered users on Alipay—Ant Financial owned payments platform (in China), and the 180 million users registered with Paytm (in India).
The merger deal is expected to close by second of half 2017, after which the stockholders of MoneyGram will be offered $13.25 per share in cash. Alex Holmes will retain his position as Chief Executive Officer of MoneyGram and will work with Douglas Feagin, Senior VP of Ant Financial, and Souheil Badran, General Manager for North America, from Ant Financial to drive the integration between the two organizations.
Ant Financials investments and fundraise
In April last year, Ant Financial raised $4.5 billion from multiple investors including China Investment Corp Capital, National Social Security Fund, China Development Bank Capital, Primavera Capital Group and CCB Trust. Note that the payment platform Alipay was spun off from Alibaba and integrated under Ant Financial in 2014, which is currently controlled by Alibaba CEO Jack Ma.
During Alibaba’s Q4 2016 earnings report, the company claimed that the overall gross merchandise value (GMV) of transactions made via Alipay stood at $17.4 billion, of which 82% was generated from mobile transactions. The company claims to process a peak average of 175,000 orders per second on Alipay.
Ant Financial initially purchased a 25% stake in One97 Communications in February 2015, which operates the Paytm in India. Six months later in September, Paytm raised an undisclosed amount in a round of funding from both Alibaba and Ant Financial. At that time, Alibaba Group picked up a 20% stake in Paytm for about $680 million and lowered Ant Financial’s stake to 20%.