Ant Financial Services Group, which is affiliated with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and is controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, announced a deal Thursday to buy U.S. money-transfer provider MoneyGram International Inc. for $880 million.   

Ant Financial will pay $13.25 a share for the Dallas-based company, a 12% premium to its Wednesday closing price of $11.88. On Thursday, the stock rose 8.8%, to $12.92.

MoneyGram, which traces its roots to a unit of Travelers created in the 1940s, joins with 350,000 banks, kiosks, stores and other locations in 200 countries to allow customers to send cash from one place to another. In recent years, it has expanded its digital offerings as well.

Before the deal closes, however, it will need to seek approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., or CFIUS, a secretive multiagency panel that reviews foreign acquisitions of assets in the U.S. for national-security threats. The panel has opposed several recent Chinese acquisitions of U.S. and European companies.

Ant’s deal in September to buy technology firm EyeVerify Inc. was approved within four months.

Source: Wall Street Journal