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Alibaba affiliate to acquire MoneyGram in $880M deal

MoneyGram International Inc. will merge with China-based Ant Financial Services Group, a digital financial services provider and parent of global mobile payment platform Alipay.

Stockholders of MoneyGram will be offered $13.25 per share in cash. The transaction is valued at about $880 million for all of MoneyGram's common and preferred shares. Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese online retail giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., will assume or refinance MoneyGram's outstanding debt.

Thomas H. Lee Partners and certain MoneyGram executives, who together own about 46% of the company's outstanding voting shares, have agreed to vote in favor of the deal. The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of the year. Once the deal closes, MoneyGram will keep its brand name and management team. Alex Holmes will continue as CEO of MoneyGram, and the company will remain based in Dallas. It expects to keep and expand its U.S. workforce.

For Ant Financial, Citi is serving as financial adviser, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is serving as legal adviser. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is serving as MoneyGram's financial adviser, while Vinson & Elkins LLP is its legal adviser.