Chinese tech giant Ant Financial is in advanced talks to buy currency exchange start-up WorldFirst in a deal that could be worth up to $700m (£550m).
Ant Financial, part-owned by China’s biggest internet tech company Alibaba, could complete the takeover within weeks, Sky News reported.
The company has been in talks with WorldFirst for months and insiders told Sky News the deal could value the British currency exchange firm at “hundreds of millions” of pounds.
Roughly one-third owned by Alibaba, Ant Financial was recently valued at $150bn and the company has signalled its intentions to go public.
It was unclear whether Ant Financial planned to buy the entirety of WorldFirst or whether existing investors such as FTV Capital, a venture capital firm, would retain a stake.
Earlier this year e-commerce giant Alibaba, founded by influential businessman Jack Ma, opened two data centres in London, signalling its first official expansion onto British shores.
The centres will power Alibaba's cloud services in the UK, allowing it to effectively disseminate its services to British businesses as it seeks to compete with rivals Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
Earlier this year it opened cloud data centres in Frankfurt as it moved into Europe.
Ant Financial’s move for WorldFirst would further signal Chinese firms’ intent to move into Europe and expand their reach globally.