Ingenico has appointed a new chief executive as it aims to arrest a slide in its share price. The company announced that long-serving boss Philippe Lazare would step down as both chairman and chief executive, and that the two jobs would be separated.
Ingenico is one of the few big payments companies that been unable to attract a big deal like some of its rivals, although it is currently in talks with French bank Natixis. Bernard Bourigeaud, the founder of IT company Atos, is to become chairman while Nicolas Huss, who had been chief operating officer and head of Visa Europe, is to become chief executive.
Mr Huss told the Financial Times that while Ingenico was open to a deal in the future, he was focused on driving internal change. “If some partners are interested we would be very happy to look at [a joint venture] …but only if there is added value in putting together our assets. It’s all about growing the company.”
Ingenico, which has a market capitalisation of €4.3 billion, has been the subject of takeover speculation since it made a failed £6.6 billion approach for Worldpay ahead of its UK rival’s flotation in 2015.
Natixis has been considering merging its payments assets with Ingenico, according to people close to the bank, hoping that this will prompt a reappraisal of what it considers to be its own undervalued payments business. A deal would be the latest sign of the intense competition in European payments, although some analysts played down the likelihood that the management changes at Ingenico would lead to an imminent deal.
“While the CEO change likely doesn’t preclude a sale, we suspect that it makes it less likely in the near-term,” says Josh Levin at Citi. “Our guess is that the new CEO will want to take a shot at fixing what ails Ingenico in order to create shareholder value, and that the board will be inclined to give him the time to do [so].”
The release of Lazare should note that under his leadership Ingenico’s annual revenues grew over the past decade from €500 million to more than €2.7 billion (approximately $3.1 billion), with more than half of that coming from transaction processing.
The shakeup is yet another sign that the traditional POS terminal market is undergoing a transformation. Both Ingenico and Verifone are trying to adjust to a market that is seeing a proliferation of mobile-oriented payment hardware and software options for merchants as well as cloud-based processing services from new rivals.
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