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Euronet proposal counters MoneyGram-Ant Financial merger; India implications

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It looks like MoneyGram’s proposed $880 million merger with China’s Ant Financial might be in trouble following an unsolicited proposal from Euronet, a Kansas-based electronic payments company. MoneyGram’s board is considering Euronet’s proposal to acquire all outstanding shares of MoneyGram Common Stock and Preferred Stock for $15.20. Ant Financial had offered $13.25 per share in cash.

Bloomberg points out that Ant Financial will either counter the bid with a higher offer or wait for the board to complete due diligence on the Euronet proposal. The report added that Euronet is confident that its deal will go through with US regulators.

The Ant Financial could deal could fail as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), an inter-department body which looks at acquisitions by foreign companies, could be influenced by President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy (Jack Ma’s comments on an impending trade war between the US and China probably doesn’t help).

Why it matters to India

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Note that Ant Financial’s merger with MoneyGram also talked about being able to tap the 450 million users registered users on Alipay (in China), and the 200 million users registered with Paytm (in India).

Ant Financial initially purchased a 25% stake in One97 Communications, which operates Paytm, 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%.

Recently,  the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has opened new avenues of business and wallets in India will now be able to undertake cross-border inward remittances. So far there are eight companies under the MTSS scheme and include Western Union, MoneyGram Payment Systems, UAE Exchange Centre. Most of these companies handle cross-border inbound services. Potentially, all wallet companies can now compete with these money transfer companies.

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