China’s Ant Financial has raised its offer price to merge global money transfer services firm MoneyGram.

The affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has now reached an agreement to acquire all of the outstanding shares of MoneyGram for $18 per share compared to earlier offer of $13.25 per share.

Both the companies have entered into an amended agreement for merger, which values MoneyGram at $1.2bn.

The latest offer gives nearly $320m in additional cash consideration to MoneyGram stockholders from the prior agreement.

After the completion of the transaction, MoneyGram will operate as an independent subsidiary of Ant Financial.

The transaction is subject to the approval of MoneyGram stockholders, obtaining remaining regulatory approvals, including the clearance of the transaction by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, and other customary closing conditions.

It is expected to be completed in the second half of 2017.

Ant Financial International president Doug Feagin said: “We look forward to joining forces with MoneyGram, which will add valuable cross-border remittance capabilities to the Ant Financial ecosystem, serving our more than 630 million users globally.

“Over the past few months, we have enjoyed working closely with the MoneyGram team and remain committed to our plans to invest further in the MoneyGram business.

“We plan to grow the U.S.-based team and create even greater opportunities for the MoneyGram community as we pursue our shared vision of global inclusive finance in an increasingly digital era.”

In January, the affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group had entered into an deal to acquire MoneyGram in a cash deal worth $880m.

But it was challenged by a rival bid made by US-based electronic payments firm Euronet Worldwide in March 2017.

To acquire Moneygram, Euronet had offered nearly 15% or $130m more than that was agreed by Alibaba affiliate.