Worldline's $8.7 bln Ingenico deal to create European payments leader

Payments company Worldline agreed on Monday to buy French rival Ingenico in a 7.8 billion euro ($8.7 billion) deal, creating a European leader in a sector trying to keep up with fast-changing consumer habits and technologies.
The growing use of smartphones for online payments, including through Apple Pay or WeChat, is sparking competition in the industry to develop new, adapted processing systems, often requiring large investments.

The purchase by Worldline, which was born out of French IT company Atos, follows a wave of mergers and acquisitions last year among U.S. rivals also looking to try and build up their share of digital transactions.

Firms in the sector provide everything from the card terminals found in shops to broader services such as transaction security for retailers and banks, and many now want to be present across the whole payment chain.

“We’re likely to see more consolidation,” Worldline Chief executive Gilles Grapinet told reporters, adding that it was an industry with cost advantages for those operating on a large scale.

The takeover of Ingenico gives the firm an implied equity value of 7.8 billion euros and would immediately boost Worldline’s earnings per share, with around 250 million euros expected in savings by 2024.

The price tag implies a premium of about 16% to Ingenico’s closing market value on Friday of around 6.7 billion euros.

Asked about any potential anti-trust regulatory hurdles, Grapinet said the transaction was expected to close “rapidly”, in the third quarter of 2020.

The global payments industry is set to reach $3 trillion a year in revenue by 2023 as more people switch from cash to digital payments for online and store purchases, according to research by McKinsey.
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