Ant Financial to buy WorldFirst for $700m
As reported earlier this month, WorldFirst shut down its US operations as it didn’t want this takeover by the Chinese firm to be derailed by American regulators.
The acquisition is Ant Financial’s first major deal in the UK and a big push for the juicy payments market in Europe.
In January, Alipay, part of Alibaba (of which Ant Financial is a fintech affiliate), was granted an electronic money licence in Luxembourg, and set up a new entity in the country: Alipay (Europe).
It’s also good news for Ant Financial as a year ago it had to abandon its planned $1.2 billion offer to acquire US paytech MoneyGram.
Via this WorldFirst deal, Ant Financial says the two companies can “reach a greater number of customers, especially in the fast-growing area of cross border e-commerce”.
WorldFirst’s chief executive Jonathan Quin comments: “We believe that becoming a part of the Ant Financial group and of the wider Alibaba ecosystem will create opportunities for us to grow our existing relationship with you, and in time we will be able to offer even better products and services to you as we maximise the benefits that will come from being a part of a larger group.”
Quin will continue to lead WorldFirst once the acquisition is completed.