Ant Financial, an offshoot of Alibaba (BABA) - Get Report that manages its Alipay service and other financial tech initiatives, announced a merger with Dallas-based money transfer company MoneyGram International (MGI) - Get Report .
The deal, valued at approximately $880 million, will offer stockholders of MoneyGram $13.25 per share in cash. Ant Financial will also assume or refinance MoneyGram's outstanding debt, which stood at $937.3 million for the quarter ended on Sept. 30, according to the company's latest financial statement.
Ant Financial's merger with MoneyGram marks the fin-tech company's first direct deal with a U.S.-listed company and its latest conquest in an ongoing international expansion. The company invested $680 million in Indian e-commerce and payments player Paytm in Sept. 2015 and a 20 percent stake in Thailand's Ascend Money, an e-payment services and micro-loans provider in Nov. 2016.
MoneyGram stock jumped Thursday after the transaction was announced. Shares of MoneyGram closed at $11.88 a share Wednesday but rose 8.84% to $12.93 per share by the closing bell on Thursday.
Shares of Alibaba, however, closed down 1.30% to $102.71 per share on Thursday.
"The acquisition of MoneyGram is a significant milestone in our mission to bring inclusive financial services to users around the world," said Eric Jing, Chief Executive Officer of Ant Financial in a statement released today. "We believe financial services should be simple, low-cost and accessible to the many, not the few. The combination of Ant Financial and MoneyGram will provide greater access, security and simplicity for people around the world to remit funds, especially in major economies such as the United States, China, India, Mexico and the Philippines."
Ant Financial, which is expected to go public in the near future, is valued at $60 billion according to a Wall Street Journal report last year.
Riding on the momentum of successful mobile monetization amongst Chinese users, Ant Financial already has a wide global reach which serves itself particularly well when Chinese tourists travel abroad and utilize its payment services. MoneyGram's merger with Ant Financial will likely help the company broaden its U.S. services but the company will retain the MoneyGram brand name and management team upon completion of the transaction.
Alex Holmes, Chief Executive Officer of MoneyGram will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer of MoneyGram and work with Douglas Feagin, Senior Vice President of Ant Financial, and Souheil Badran, General Manager for North America, from Ant Financial to drive the integration between the two organizations.
Alibaba declined to comment while Ant didn't respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman from MoneyGram declined to comment beyond the release.