Ant Financial agrees to buy UK payments firm WorldFirst
Yang Jing

Ant Financial Service Group, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group's fintech affiliate, has agreed to acquire WorldFirst, a UK-based currency exchange, Ant Financial said on Thursday.

Becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ant Financial, WorldFirst will continue to operate as a UK-headquartered, and regulated business with global operations, Jonathan Quin, CEO and co-founder of the 15-year-old British company said in a letter to clients.

The tie-up will enable both sides to “reach a greater number of customers, especially in the fast-growing area of cross border e-commerce”, Ant Financial said in a statement, noting they are looking forward to jointly supporting small and medium enterprises worldwide, including the U.S.

The statement did not disclose more details or terms of the purchase. Sky News reported in December that the acquisition could be worth more than 500 million pounds (641.7 million U.S. dollars).