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Nordic mobile wallets mega merger blocked by EC

Back in June 2021, Norwegian Vipps, Danish Mobilepay and Finnish Pivo announced that the three mobile wallets would merge.

Nordic mobile wallets mega merger blocked

Late last week it emerged that Pivo, owned by OP Bank in Finland, will not be allowed to participate. It happened after the European Commission (EC) raised concerns about the merger. A new application is now being sent to the European Commission.

Concerned about market concentration

The Commission believes that the merger would have created a market concentration in the wallet market in Finland that was far too high. That is because Pivo and Mobilepay have divided the market between them in Finland.

In Norway, Vipps is by far the largest player and Mobilepay is the same in Denmark, but in Finland there are two major players.

The EU was concerned that the merger would result in too high a market concentration, says communications manager Caroline Lunde at Vipps.

A new formal application has now been submitted to the European Commission, and the companies hope to receive approval before Christmas. 

Then the work starts to build an organization across Norway, Finland and Denmark – according to a Vipps press release.

“We are now entering with slightly fewer customers in Finland, but the commission was so clear that it was necessary to make changes in Finland in order for us to progress in the approval process,” says Lunde.

In total, the merged company will have close to 11 million users, 400,000 affiliated stores and 900 million annual transactions.

“We will continue to grow in Norway and Denmark, and in addition we will invest in growth and development in Finland. Our aim is to be the leading solution for mobile payments in Finland,” says Vipps CEO Rune Garborg in the press release.

“In the long term, the aim is also to establish itself in other European countries, and to be able to create a common European mobile wallet,” adds Lunde.

Changed shareholding

When the merger was first announced, the banks behind Vipps were to get a 65% stake, while Danske Bank and OP Bank were to get stakes of 25 and 10% respectively.

After OB Bank is now out of the merger, the banks behind Vipps will get a share of 72.2%, while Danske Bank will get a share of 27.8%.

This despite the fact that Mobilepay was launched two years before Vipps, has the most users and that in 2021 it had almost twice the daily transaction amount as Vipps.

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