MoneyGram International Inc. (MGI) fell 7.7% on Wednesday, Jan. 3, after a U.S. government panel rejected Ant Financial's plan to acquire the U.S. money transfer company over national security concerns.
The $1.2 billion transaction is the highest-profile Chinese deal to be scuttled by the administration of President Donald Trump and represents a blow for Jack Ma, executive chairman of Chinese internet conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) , who owns Ant Financial together with Alibaba executives.
The failure of the bid comes a year after Ma promised Trump in a meeting that he would create 1 million U.S. jobs. Dallas-based MoneyGram has a network of 350,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories.
The deal was terminated after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) rejected the companies' proposals to mitigate concerns over the safety of data that can be used to identify U.S. citizens, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the confidential discussions.
"Despite our best efforts to work cooperatively with the U.S. government, it has now become clear that CFIUS will not approve this merger," MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes said in a statement on Tuesday.
Under Trump, the U.S. has made it more difficult to make sales of companies to Chinese entities, while he's also trying to put pressure on China to help curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions and reach better agreements on trade and foreign exchange issues.
The MoneyGram deal is the latest in a string of Chinese acquisitions of U.S. companies that have failed to clear CFIUS, including the $1.3 billion purchase by China-backed buyout fund Canyon Bridge Capital Partners LLC of U.S. chipmaker Lattice Semiconductor Corp. (LSCC) , Reuters reported.
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