The Alibaba-affiliated financial services arm is negotiating the purchase of Britain’s WorldFirst for about $700 million, Sky News reports, which would be Ant’s first major step into the UK market.
WorldFirst, founded in 2004, processes payments and currency transfers for businesses and households. It operates in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa.
One source told Sky that Ant has had WorldFirst in its sights for a while, but cautioned that talks are still ongoing. It is not yet clear whether the buyout will give Ant 100% ownership or whether existing investors will keep their stakes.
Since being spun out from Alibaba in 2010, Ant Financial has become one of the world’s most highly valued tech companies yet to go public. In the first half of 2018, its valuation stood at $150 billion.