Ant Financial to enter British market through purchase of WorldFirst for USD 700 mln
Dec 25, 2018 (China Knowledge) - Alibaba’s <BABA:NYSE> e-payment arm, Ant Financial is in talks to purchase WorldFirst, a UK-based international payment group, for about USD 700 million.
The deal, when completed, will allow Ant Financial to enter the British market; although its payment services is already available in some retail outlets. Both companies have declined to comment on the potential transaction.
WorldFirst, was co-founded by Citibank’s former bankers Jonathan Quin and Nick Robinson in 2004. The company handles payment and currency transfer for individual and businesses around the world. Presently, it has offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the U.S.
Ant Financial is an online payment services provider founded by Alibaba Group. The company manages the world’s largest mobile and online payments platform, Alipay. The Alipay has over 700 million annual active users as of September 2018, according to the company’s executive chairman and CEO, Eric Jing.
The company has been trying to expand its services globally. Ant Financial has previously struck a deal to acquire Texas-based cash-transfer group MoneyGram. This would have given the company a strong foothold in the U.S. payments market, but the acquisition was abandoned after it failed to gain approval from the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment.
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