MoneyGram Agrees to Merge with Ant Financial

Through this $880 million deal, Ant will connect MoneyGram’s network of 2.4 billion bank and mobile accounts with Ant’s customers.
Ant, which is working closely with Alibaba, is seeking to expand its global presence amid increasing competition with the Tencent group at home.

Last year, Rakuten, Japan’s top e-commerce firm, downsized its international presence once again, closing its marketplaces in the UK, Spain and Austria, following a streamlining strategy to pull out from Southeast Asia and Brazil last year.
As the Rakuten case shows, the global expansion of e-commerce is more difficult than that of financial services.

The "last-mile" logistics problem still exists in e-commerce, requiring huge assets in local distribution centers.
Meanwhile, in modern financial services, technologies for mobility and security are the key.
In this sense, this M&A deal can be seen as an effective investment. Similar trends will likely accelerate in Asia as well.