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US Government blocks Moneygram's merger with Alibaba's Ant Financial

13 January 2018

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.

A US government panel's decision to block Ant Financial's $1.2 billion acquisition of MoneyGram International another indication that goodwill built during President Donald Trump's November Beijing trip is fading, according to China's state-run Xinhua news agency.

The failure has prompted the question among dealmakers: If a Jack Ma-linked company can not buy a US company, is there hope for other Chinese companies - or should they turn their sights elsewhere?

Ma, a citizen of China who appears often with leaders from the Communist Party, promised U.S. President Donald Trump during a meeting previous year he would be creating 1 million jobs in the U.S.

Ant's US$1.2 billion (S$1.6 billion) deal for MoneyGram would have added a network of 350,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories that it says reaches billions of accounts.

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He added: "From the USA government perspective, Chinese investment in the United States is made sensitive by the extensive involvement of the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese government in the economy".

They did not elaborate further, though analysts have said that CFIUS might be concerned about protection of data relating to the millions of users of MoneyGram, a leading provider of money transferring services.

Last year, two House of Representatives members said the acquisition could allow "malicious actors" to obtain data on United States military personnel and their families who use the service.

But U.S. lawmakers - whose biggest rebuff to China was delivered in 2005, when congressional opposition derailed a $19.5 billion bid for Unocal by the Chinese state-owned oil major CNOOC - have once more become an increasing concern for dealmakers.

MR JEREMY CHOY, head of mergers and acquisitions at China Renaissance.

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"Technology companies understand the situation and are evolving in their approach".

Now the companies said that they would be strategic co-operators.

We'll return to the broader implications for this latest veto shortly, but let's start with a quick review of this slightly surprising ending to a story that has stretched on for quite a while now.

He was looking to expand Ant Financial's footprint amid fierce domestic competition from Chinese rival Tencent's WeChat payment platform.

Alex Holmes, Chief Executive Officer of MoneyGram, commented: "The geopolitical environment has changed considerably since we first announced the proposed transaction with Ant Financial almost a year ago".

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US Government blocks Moneygram's merger with Alibaba's Ant Financial