Ant Financial Services has agreed to buy UK-based payments company WorldFirst in order to advance its global expansion.
Rumours about the acquisition first appeared in December 2018, when Ant Financial has allegedly shared its plans to buy the UK payments startup.
The acquisition marks the China-based company’s first big move into the UK, and it should allow Ant Financial to better serve smaller businesses worldwide, including in the US.
Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba Group, serves hundreds of millions of customers who tap the platform for everything from micro-transactions to wealth management. WorldFirst, a company that helped more than 160,000 individuals and small businesses transfer money since its founding in 2004, will remain independent under the terms.