Ant Financial to try again for U.S. approval of MoneyGram deal: source

(Reuters) - Chinese payments company Ant Financial is planning to resubmit its application for U.S. review of its deal to buy MoneyGram International Inc MGI.O for $1.2 billion, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO - A logo of Ant Financial is displayed at the Ant Financial event in Hong Kong, China November 1, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/ File Photo

Ant Financial and MoneyGram have already refiled for clearance from Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) when they were unable to secure it within an assessment period after the first application, Reuters reported in July, citing sources.

“We are not commenting on the CFIUS process, but we are continuing to work with the various regulatory agencies and remain focused on closing the transaction by the end of the year,” the company said in a statement.

Ant Financial’s latest attempt for approval would be its third as the maximum time of 75 days for assessing such applications nears completion.

CFIUS is a secretive government panel which reviews acquisitions by foreign entities for potential national security risks.

A CFIUS refile indicates increased government scrutiny and more deals have been resubmitted to CFIUS since the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump in January.

CFIUS had objected to at least nine acquisitions of U.S. companies by foreign buyers by July 20, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter said.

Ant Financial finalized its deal to buy Dallas-based MoneyGram in April, after it sweetened its bid by over a third to beat a rival offer from U.S.-based Euronet Worldwide Inc EEFT.O.

MoneyGram, and CFIUS could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ant Financial’s plans were earlier reported by Bloomberg.

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru and Liana Baker in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman & Simon Cameron-Moore