After a flurry of private equity interest in the sector, two of Europe's largest payments businesses – Nets and Concardis – are to merge in a multi-billion pound deal.
The two companies announced today at the fintech conference Money 20/20 that Concardis would merge with Nets, to form a company with €1.3bn (£1.1bn) of annual net revenue.
Private equity giants Advent and Bain, who own Germany-based Concardis, will swap their holdings in Concardis for Nets shares. Their peer Hellman & Friedman, which backs the Scandinavia-headquartered Nets, will see its holding diluted.
"We want to shape the ongoing consolidation in the European payments industry and
further drive our pan-European expansion," said Nets' chief executive Bo Nilsson.
"Germany offers attractive growth potential due to market size, consumer spending and the fact that around 75 per cent of all payment transactions are still cash-based."
Nilsson will lead the combined group, while Robert Hoffman will continue at the helm of Concardis reporting directly to him. The two firms will retain their respective brands.
Advent and Bain formerly owned Nets as well as Concardis, before floating the business in 2016. Hellman & Friedman took it private again earlier this year, though Advent and Bain remained minority investors which likely helped to usher the merger through.
Payments companies have been forced to consolidate, as increased regulation has spurred them to invest in compliance.
Worldline bought Switzerland's Six Payment Services in May, London-based fintech investor Anacap bought out e-commerce specialist Heidelpay last year, and Advent and Bain's string of deals in the sector has also included Worldpay and ICBPI (now Nexi).