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China's Ant Drops Deal For MoneyGram After Losing U.S. Approval

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Ant Financial Services Group abandoned its plan to merge with MoneyGram International ( MGI ) after the companies failed to win approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., a national-security panel that has become more active in blocking Chinese investments in American companies.

[ibd-display-video id=3058994 width=50 float=left autostart=true] The companies plan to work together on new strategic initiatives in the remittance and digital-payments markets, they said in a joint statement on Tuesday. Last year, Ant Financial offered $18 a share in cash for Dallas-based MoneyGram, valuing the deal at $1.2 billion.

"The geopolitical environment has changed considerably since we first announced the proposed transaction with Ant Financial nearly a year ago," MoneyGram Chief Executive Officer Alex Holmes said in the statement. "Despite our best efforts to work cooperatively with the U.S. government, it has now become clear that CFIUS will not approve this merger."

Hangzhou, China-based Ant Financial, which is controlled by billionaire Jack Ma, has faced intense scrutiny for its proposed takeover of MoneyGram. It had resubmitted its merger deal to the panel several times, to no avail. Last spring, two U.S. House of Representatives members said the acquisition would give China access to the financial infrastructure of the U.S. The takeover would potentially allow "malicious actors" to obtain data on U.S. military personnel and their families who use the service, the lawmakers said.

Chinese takeovers of American companies have prompted warnings from lawmakers about risks to national security. In September, President Donald Trump blocked the sale of Lattice Semiconductor Corp. to a buyer funded by a Chinese state-owned entity.

Ant is a behemoth in China, providing services from wealth management and insurance to credit checks and consumer loans.

Ant has disputed assertions that U.S. security would be compromised by the deal, citing its plans to keep MoneyGram's headquarters, management team and employees in Dallas. The company said MoneyGram's servers - and the data stored on them - would also remain in the U.S.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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