Alipay Parent Denies Wirecard Interest; Shares Erase Advance

  • Media report suggesting investment in Wirecard “untrue”: Ant
  • Bild had said Alipay in talks to buy up to 25% Wirecard stake

The finance business controlled by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma denied a newspaper report that it’s in talks to buy as much as 25 percent in Wirecard AG, causing shares of the German payments provider to erase their gains.

While Ant Financial has worked with several partners to provide mobile-payment solutions to Chinese tourists in Europe, “the media report to suggest our investment in Wirecard is untrue," the company said Monday via text message.

Wirecard dropped 3.8 percent to 37.74 euros at the close in Frankfurt, giving the company a market value of 4.66 billion euros ($5.14 billion). The stock gained as much as 5.8 percent earlier Monday after Bild am Sonntag reported the talks and said Ant Financial’s Alipay unit could increase the stake beyond 25 percent at a later point.

Alipay, China’s largest online payments processor, is the finance affiliate of
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the Chinese e-commerce operator that was founded by Ma. Wirecard, which has come under attack from short sellers in the past, is working with Alipay to offer Chinese tourists the option to use Alipay’s mobile payment solution in European stores.

Iris Stoeckl, a spokeswoman for Wirecard, declined to comment on the specifics of the report. The company is “in strategic talks with various partners,” she said Monday by phone.

Wirecard, based in Aschheim near Munich, is “ideal prey” for potential buyers because it’s active in the entire breadth of online payment and more than 90 percent of its shares are available for trading, Richard Maxime Beaudoux, an analyst at Bryan Garnier & Co. said Monday in an e-mailed note.

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