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[SINGAPORE] China's Ant Financial has raised its offer for electronic payment firm MoneyGram International Inc and the deal was unanimously approved by the US firm's board, outbidding rival Euronet Worldwide Inc.
Ant, the finance affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, increased its offer to US$18 per share in cash from US$13.25, and the transaction is valued at around US$1.2 billion, a statement by Ant and MoneyGram said.
A successful deal would be the Ant's first major step to expand its business overseas. Ant, valued at around US$60 billion, is also planning an initial public offering.
"MoneyGram... will add valuable cross-border remittance capabilities to the Ant Financial ecosystem, serving our more than 630 million users globally," Doug Feagin, President of Ant Financial International, said in the statement.
The two firms said they have made progress towards obtaining the regulatory approvals necessary to complete the transaction, including winning US antitrust clearance.
The deal will also be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS), a US inter-agency panel that looks at foreign acquisitions for national security risks.
CFIUS has been a stumbling block for several Chinese deals in the United States and is considered a big hurdle for Ant Financial.
A Euronet deal is likely to be more agreeable to US policymakers amid rising tensions between China and the United States over trade and foreign policy.