A MoneyGram advertisement in Shanghai. Photo: ImagineChina

Ant Financial sweetened its bid for MoneyGram International by more than a third, beating a rival offer to gain approval from the US electronic payment firm’s board, although it still faces regulatory hurdles.

Ant’s plans to expand globally with the acquisition of one of the biggest firms in remittances hit a major snag last month when US-based Euronet Worldwide made an unsolicited offer and openly lobbied US lawmakers, saying Ant’s proposal created a national security risk.

The finance affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group lifted its cash bid 36% to US$18 per share, valuing MoneyGram at around US$1.2 billion.