China's Ant set to ink $3.5 billion loan to help fund MoneyGram bid - Basis Point

Thu May 4, 2017 5:38am EDT
 
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By Carol Zhong and Prakash Chakravarti

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China's Ant Financial, an affiliate of online shopping giant Alibaba Group (BABA.N: Quote), is close to signing a $3.5 billion loan a part of which will help fund its purchase of U.S. money transfer company MoneyGram International (MGI.O: Quote), Thomson Reuters Basis Point reported.

Fourteen banks, including Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ.AX: Quote), Citigroup (C.N: Quote), Credit Suisse (CSGN.S: Quote), Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote), HSBC (HSBA.L: Quote), Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Quote) and JPMorgan (JPM.N: Quote), have committed to the loan, Basis Point reported.

The three-year syndicated term loan will replace a bridge facility that backed Ant Financial's bid for MoneyGram, it reported on Thursday, adding documentation of the loan is in progress, with signing expected within the next few days.

Ant, valued at about $60 billion after a $4.5-billion funding round in April 2016, is set for an initial public offering (IPO), though it has not specified a timeframe or listing venue.

Ant Financial declined to comment. Representatives for ANZ, Citi, JPMorgan and HSBC also declined to comment, while Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

For global banks, the loan is an opportunity to jostle for position ahead of the IPO, a strategy that has paid off for banks such as HSBC which was appointed a bookrunner on the bumper Aramco IPO after gaining an advisory role on the Saudi oil company's first ever sukuk issuance.

Reuters reported in February that Ant Financial, China's most valuable online finance company, is in early stage talks with banks to raise between $2 billion to $3 billion in debt to fund acquisitions and foreign investments.

The loan size is being increased from $3 billion after the Chinese online finance firm sweetened its bid for MoneyGram by over a third, beating a rival offer from U.S.-based Euronet Worldwide (EEFT.O: Quote) to gain approval from MoneyGram's board.   Continued...

 
A logo of Ant Financial is displayed at an event of the company in Hong Kong, China November 1, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip