A multi-billion-euro merger has been formalised between two of Europe’s largest payments groups – the latest in a series of major deals in the rapidly-consolidating industry. Nets and German group Concardis announced plans to combine to create a group with €1.3bn in annual revenues and around €500m in EBITDA.
The agreement comes less than a year after the two companies were taken over by private equity groups. Nets was taken over in a $5.3bn deal that marked the largest European leveraged buyout in almost five years, while Bain Capital and Advent acquired Concardis for around €700m.
Bo Nilsson, Nets chief executive, will lead the combined group. He said the deal would provide “an ideal springboard” for expansion into the rest of Europe, adding: “We want to shape the ongoing consolidation in the European payments industry and further drive our pan-European expansion. Germany offers attractive growth potential due to market size, consumer spending and the fact that around 75% of all payment transactions are still cash-based.”
The once-sleepy payments industry, which manages the back-end infrastructure that powers billions of transactions a day, has recently been woken up as new technology changes the way consumers make payments, prompting a wave of new start-ups and consolidation among established players.
Most recently, French group Worldline won a fight to buy Swiss stock market operator SIX’s payments unit for €2.3bn, narrowly beating a rival bid from Nets owner H & F.
Last year CVC Capital Partners and Blackstone bought British group Paysafe for £3bn, while US processor Vantiv paid £9.3bn for Worldpay.
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