Ant Financial, the fintech company owned by Chinese internet giant Alibaba, has taken a major step into Europe through the acquisition of United Kingdom payments company WorldFirst.
Neither party has disclosed an amount for the deal, however when negotiations first came to light in December multiple reports valued the takeover at 550 million pounds ($704 million).
The acquisition was confirmed by WorldFirst Chief Executive Jonathan Quin in a letter to customers on Thursday.
The deal marks a major milestone in Ant Financial’s European expansion.
Over the last few years, Ant Financial has pursued partnerships with numerous merchants in Europe which now accept payment from Chinese tourists and online shoppers through Alipay.
Alipay opened offices in London and Milan in 2015, and in 2016 signed partnership deals with Barclays in the UK, BNP Paribas in France, UniCredit in Italy and SIX Group in Switzerland.
In 2017, Alipay expanded its partnership with Adyen, a Dutch company which provides online or in-store payment platforms for more than 4,500 businesses worldwide.
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