BEIJING, April 6 China's Ant Financial tried to
soothe security concerns about its proposed $880 million
takeover MoneyGram International Inc on Thursday, saying
it intends to store U.S. user data locally once the deal closes.
The finance affiliate of Internet giant Alibaba Group
Holding Ltd will meet MoneyGram's existing security
infrastructure standards and invest in U.S. jobs, Ant's head of
international strategy Douglas Feagin said.
"Any data collected on MoneyGram users in the U.S. will
continue to reside on the same ironclad U.S.-based servers that
meet the high security standards your customers trust today,"
Feagin said in an open letter.
Ant agreed to buy MoneyGram in January, but last month
Kansas-based Euronet Worldwide Inc made a rival offer
and called on the U.S. government to scrutinise Ant's bid over
"significant national security risks."
Euronet chief Michael Brown said Chinese ownership could
compromise the relationship between law enforcement and
MoneyGram when investigating money laundering and "terrorist
But Feagin said on Thursday that Ant plans to invest in
global compliance measures and anti-money laundering programs.
Ant's bid comes amid heightened tension between China and
the United States over trade. It will be subject to a review by
the Committee on Foreign Investment CFIUS), a U.S. inter-agency
panel that reviews foreign acquisitions for national security
risks which has scuttled recent Chinese deals.
Dallas-based MoneyGram is one of the biggest firms in the
global remittance market, offering services in around 350,000
stores across 200 countries. It would provide Ant with a coveted
network of financial partnerships and form a lynchpin in their
Over the past six months Ant has acquired strategic
interests in payment firms in Thailand, South Korea and the
Philippines, adding to existing investments in India. It plans
to announce at least two further deals in Asia this year.
Euronet's initial proposal is valued at about $1 billion and
MoneyGram has said it will carefully consider the offer.
(Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Alexander Smith)