Ant Financial looking to buy UK’s FX firm WorldFirst
According to Sky News, talks have been ongoing for several months, in spite of the fact that both Ant Financial and WorldFirst haven’t provided comment on the matter.
It was unclear whether existing investors like FTV Capital would retain a stake in WorldFirst, founded in 2004 in London.
The deal, if it is to take place, could happen in the next few weeks, and is seen as part of China’s efforts to break into the global payments industry.
WorldFirst reports that, since its launch nearly 15 years ago, it has transferred over £60 billion on behalf of 160,000 clients.
Ant, valued at $150 billion, is understood to be looking to go public this year. Ant Financial’s brands include Alipay, Ant Fortune, Zhina Credit and MY Bank.
It is understood that the UK’s watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, had been notified about the proposed transaction between Ant Financial and WorldFirst.
During 2018, WorldFirst became the first foreign firm to be granted a licence to operate in China’s payment services sector.