China's Ant Group, the parent company of Alipay, is set to acquire Dutch payments firm MultiSafepay in a strategic move to further penetrate the Western payments sector. The deal, valued at approximately $200 million, underscores Ant Group's ongoing expansion efforts beyond its home market.
Ant Group, with its roots dating back to the establishment of Alipay in 2004, has evolved into one of the world's leading open Internet platforms. The company focuses on providing inclusive and convenient digital financial services to consumers and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Through technological innovation, Ant Group collaborates with global partners to facilitate payments, remittances, and support the digital transformation of various industries.
This latest acquisition follows Ant Group's previous purchases in the payments space. In 2022, the company acquired Singapore-based payments firm 2C2P, and in 2019, it made a significant move by acquiring British payments group WorldFirst.
MultiSafepay, founded in 1999, specializes in payment acquiring and processing services, supporting over 30 local and international payment methods. The company acts as an acquirer and processor for major cards, according to information available on its website.
The deal with MultiSafepay aligns with Ant Group's strategy of strengthening its global presence and expanding its range of payment services. As part of its internationalization efforts, Ant Group launched the "International Version" of its Alipay app in 2023, catering to overseas travelers visiting China. The app not only addresses mobile payment needs but also integrates common travel services such as hotel and airfare bookings, along with ride-hailing.
Furthermore, in 2023, Ant Group allowed overseas users of its platform to link Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, and Discover cards to their mobile wallets, enhancing the flexibility and reach of its payment ecosystem. The company has been actively collaborating with payment service providers to facilitate international e-wallet payments for U.S. retail merchants. A notable partnership with payment service provider Citcon exemplifies Ant Group's commitment to providing secure and convenient payment options for international visitors.
The move comes amid a challenging year for mergers and acquisitions (M&A), with total volumes falling 18% in 2023, reaching approximately $3 trillion. Industry experts anticipate a potential rebound in M&A activities in 2024, as market conditions improve and investors regain confidence.
As Ant Group continues its strategic acquisitions and partnerships, the global payments landscape is witnessing a dynamic shift, with the company playing a prominent role in shaping the future of digital financial services.