Ant Financial buys UK currency exchange giant WorldFirst reportedly for around $700M

Alibaba has finally got itself into global money remittance. The Alibaba fintech unit lost out on MoneyGram when a $1 billion-plus deal was vetoed by the US government last year, it quickly switched its sights to WorldFirst, which tellingly (and abruptly) shuttered its US-based business this month. It isn't exactly clear what Ant intends to do with WorldFirst, which has some three-quarters of its business in China mostly with SMEs who sell overseas through platforms like Amazon. It gives Ant a physical remittance network, but companies like WorldFirst are being squeezed by digital-first players so the company isn't buying a category leader here.


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