Ant Financial Cashes Out of MoneyGram Purchase Plan

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US regulators are blocking the sale of MoneyGram, a money transfer firm, to a subsidiary of the Chinese company Alibaba, the companies announced Wednesday.

MoneyGram and Ant, an affiliate of Chinese internet group Alibaba, jointly announced Wednesday that they had been unable to gain the required approval for the deal from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States "despite extensive efforts to address the Committee's concerns". Trump told reporters in the Trump Tower lobby that Ma was a "great, great entrepreneur".

The companies made a decision to abandon the deal after they were unable to allay the concerns of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) over the safety of data that could be used to identify U.S. citizens, according to sources familiar with the confidential discussions.

"The geopolitical environment has changed considerably since we first announced the proposed transaction with Ant Financial almost a year ago", said MoneyGram CEO Alex.

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"In the last 30 days of 2017, the USA government launched a Section 301 investigation into Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer, self-initiated probes into Chinese-made aluminum products, and rejected China's market economy status at the World Trade Organization", Xinhua said in a commentary on Wednesday. Most of Ant's moves into Western markets have been focused on existing Chinese customers who are traveling, or wish to buy Western goods through Alibaba's e-commerce engine. However, Ant Financial has also revealed that it will also pursue alternative opportunities having failed to acquire Moneygram. "Similar to US government pension funds investing in American companies, a small number of Chinese government investment funds have minority stakes in Ant Financial", said a statement from a company representative. It later raised its bid to about US$1.2 billion after Euronet Worldwide lodged an unsolicited competing offer, the Journal noted.

Still-pending deals include the $2.7 billion bid by Oceanwide Holdings for the insurer Genworth Financial Inc, first announced in October 2016.

Another high-profile deal before CFIUS is the purchase by HNA Group of SkyBridge Capital LLC, a hedge fund of funds firm, from Anthony Scaramucci, the Trump administration's former communications director. USA politicians and military leaders have also urged the administration to take a closer look at Chinese investments in America, particularly in the technology industry.

Randall Stephenson's AT&T was one of the biggest donors to Trump's inauguration but still saw the Department of Justice sue to stop AT&T's $85 billion merger with Time Warner.

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