In January, legacy remittance firm MoneyGram was acquired by Ant Financial, the parent company of top Chinese mobile wallet Alipay, for $880 million in Ant’s first deal with a US listed company, according to Bloomberg. BI Intelligence spoke with Alex Holmes, the CEO of MoneyGram, about what this deal means for his company. Here are some of the highlights:
This move helps MoneyGram reach its transformational digital aspirations. According to Holmes, one of MoneyGram’s most important strategies was figuring out, “How do we leverage our global physical network, while also becoming much more digital in our capabilities and interactions with our customers?” The Ant Financial deal will be "transformational" for the company, he said, as it will give MoneyGram access to Alipay, the firm's extremely popular mobile wallet and its more than 450 million users, as well as the potential to leverage other digital platforms Ant invests in. By being integrated into these digital platforms, MoneyGram will immediately get a boost to its digital growth, while also allowing it to maintain its impressive physical network, according to Holmes.
MoneyGram's 3,000 employees will have more opportunities: Ant Financial clearly has international aspirations with this deal, but the company has an issue with over 95% of its employees being located in China. Holmes said MoneyGram can provide Ant Financial with local "regulatory capabilities, compliance capabilities, financial capabilities, even things like communication capabilities and government relations." It's MoneyGram's employees that are able to provide all of these capabilities on an international level, which is likely why Holmes said no job cuts are expected as part of the deal. This in turn will give MoneyGram employees "more opportunity to be part of a larger organization and to do things outside the remittance space," he said.
Consumers will see much more robust offerings: MoneyGram customers "should see over time a much more enhanced, much more dynamic platform, and better service capabilities," Holmes said. Not only will the company be able to better engage its customers in various markets with a robust channel to send and receive money, but as Ant expands Alipay and other mobile wallets into new markets, MoneyGram will be able to give consumers "connections to a broader suite of tech-based financial [...]