U.S. Blocks Chinese Company From Taking Over MoneyGram

Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

Chinese mobile payments company Ant Financial has abandoned its plan to buy MoneyGram after a U.S. government panel rejected the merger proposal because of national security concerns.

The $1.2 billion deal was the latest in a series of proposed Chinese acquisitions of U.S. companies that have not been approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States because of rising U.S. concerns about Chinese influence in key sectors like technology.

MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes said in a press release that “the geopolitical environment has changed considerably” since his company and Ant Financial announced the proposed acquisition last year.

Ant Financial is part of the Chinese internet conglomerate Alibaba Group and operates Alipay, China’s most popular online payment platform with 520 million users, followed by WeChat Pay, owned by rival Tencent.

The company wants to expand globally. Alipay is already used by some retailers in Asia and Europe.

In January 2017, just before Donald Trump became president, Alibaba founder Jack Ma told Trump that he would create 1 million U.S. jobs by enabling small businesses and farmers to sell products online in China.