Saturday, 22 September, 2018

United States blocks Ant Financial's acquisition of MoneyGram

US-POLITICS-TRUMP The block puts Jack Ma's plans to create a million US jobs on hold
Patty Aguilar | 13 January, 2018, 01:11

But the deal faced intense scrutiny from a government panel.

"We don't think this is the start of a trend where people just won't do things in the US".

On Jan. 2, the two companies said Ant's efforts to buy MoneyGram had come to an end, after failing to get approval from U.S. officials.

The $1.2 billion agreement takes a toll on both companies, especially Ant Financial's parent company, Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd (NYSE: BABA).

It was hoping to use MoneyGram as a springboard to the global market following the wide success of its core Alipay electronics payment service in its home China market. It was hoping to change that with the MoneyGram move, which originally saw it offer $880 million for the USA company. The Euronet proposal was seen as more favourable to U.S. lawmakers.

The decision by the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) comes as a blow to Alibaba boss Jack Ma's push into the world's biggest financial market.

Trump says 'probably' has a good relationship with North Korea's Kim
Analysts see North Korea's need for Chinese oil as the most powerful economic leverage against Pyongyang. "I'm a very flexible person", Trump added.

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Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (SIRI) Shares Sold by BlackRock Investment Management LLC
Concorde Asset Mngmt Limited Liability Corp reported 35,033 shares stake. 63,703 were reported by Addenda Capital Inc. Price T Rowe Associates Md invested 0.01% of its portfolio in Sirius XM Holdings Inc . (NASDAQ:MAT) for 781 shares.

The two companies will still look to cooperate in other ways despite the setback, Doug Feagin, president of Ant Financial International, said in a statement. MoneyGram, which has over 650 million users worldwide, competes with Western Union for cross-border money transfers to countries like Mexico.

Reports suggest the committee had cited security concerns over the takeover. That led the pair to decide they would never be able to satisfy the agency, leading them to drop their marriage. However, a spokesperson for Ant Financial said the company is "neither owned nor controlled by the Chinese government".

"Lots of China's companies underestimate compliance risk and the complexity of operating in highly regulated USA markets, particularly in the finance and fin tech sectors", said Jeffrey Sun, partner at law firm Orrick, based in Shanghai.

This particular deal comes after the USA has shot down a string of other purchases under Trump. In particular, he wants China to put more pressure on North Korea to end its nuclear program, and thus, some might be saying he's using this kind of veto to show China what might happen if it doesn't become more assertive on that front.

"China and the United States are about to ride a bumpy journey in trade in 2018 if the US government goes it own way, and retaliatory measures by China could be on the table", it added.

Ant Financial, which is controlled by Alibaba founder and billionaire Jack Ma, a year ago had announced its intention to acquire Dallas-based Moneygram International Inc., a move that would have helped solidify a financial presence in the USA for Ma and Alibaba.

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