Date
24 March 2017
The deal brings all of Visa's networks under one roof again, cementing its lead over nearest rival MasterCard. Photo: Bloomberg
The deal brings all of Visa's networks under one roof again, cementing its lead over nearest rival MasterCard. Photo: Bloomberg

Visa to buy former Europe unit in deal worth up to US$23 bln

Visa Inc. is buying former subsidiary Visa Europe Ltd. for as much as US$23.3 billion in a deal that will give the world’s largest payments network a chance to cut costs over the long term and raise fees in the second-biggest card market.

The price for the long-anticipated deal was higher than many had expected, but ended a period of strategic uncertainty that had dogged Visa in recent months, Reuters reported.

Visa Inc. and Visa Europe, a cooperative of European banks with more than 500 million cards, were part of a global bank-owned network until 2007.

Most of the units merged to form Visa Inc., which went public in 2008, leaving Visa Europe as a separate entity.

The deal brings all of Visa’s networks under one roof again, cementing its lead over nearest rival MasterCard Inc.

By value of payments, Visa Europe had a 52.2 percent share of the European card market in 2013.

Visa said it would pay 16.5 billion euros (US$18.2 billion) up front in cash and convertible preferred stock, with potential for an additional payment of up to 4.7 billion euros based on revenue targets four years after the deal closes.

More than 3,000 companies stand to profit from the deal.

Barclays Plc, the most active bank in the Visa Europe network, is likely to be the biggest winner, Bernstein analyst Chirantan Barua wrote in a note.

Barclays said in a statement that it expected an after-tax profit of about 400 million pounds (US$619 million) next year when the deal closes.

The bank could receive up to 1.2 billion euros in total, a person familiar with the matter said.

Lloyds Banking Group Plc said it expected a pretax gain of about 300 million pounds when the deal closes, while payment services provider Worldpay Group Plc said it expected about 1.25 billion euros from the deal, including 592 million euros when it closes.

Visa said it was targeting savings of US$200 million from the deal in 2020, a 30 percent reduction from the current run rate. Much of the savings will come from integration of technology.

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