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Mastercard moves on Nets units in its biggest acquisition

Leah Hodgson

Mastercard has agreed to buy the majority of payment provider

Nets' corporate services businesses in its largest-ever acquisition, per PitchBook data. The US banking giant will pay €2.85 billion (around $3.19 billion) for the Danish target's clearing and instant payment services and e-billing solutions. 

The deal, which follows Mastercard's recent takeovers of New York-based

Transactis and

Transfast, will allow the company to deliver faster payments and extend its Mastercard Send and Transfast technologies that deliver cross-border payments to bank accounts, mobile wallets and cards. It also complements the company's 2016 acquisition of UK-based

Vocalink for up to £869 million (about $1 billion at today's conversion rate).

The announcement comes less than two years after Nets was purchased by

Hellman & Friedman for a reported $5.3 billion—resulting in the business delisting from NASDAQ Copenhagen—and about seven months after it merged with German peer

Concardis. The Scandinavian business went public in 2016, reaching a market cap of 30 billion Danish kroner (around $4.5 billion today). Prior to listing, it was owned by investors including

Advent International and

Bain Capital

With a presence in the Nordic and Baltic regions, Nets generated EBITDA of 2.9 billion Danish kroner in 2018 and revenue of 7.6 billion Danish kroner, down from 7.7 billion Danish kroner in revenue the year before. Serving more than 260,000 enterprises and over 240 banks, Nets will retain its e-ID and digitization services in a bid to focus solely on its merchant services operations after the Mastercard deal. 

This latest move echoes ongoing consolidation in the payments industry, which has seen several multibillion-dollar transactions this year. In January,

Fiserv agreed to buy

KKR-backed and publicly traded

First Data in a $22 billion stock deal. Then, in March,

Fidelity National Information Services announced its takeover of

Worldpay for around $34 billion. The third massive transaction came courtesy of

Global Payments, which agreed to a $21.5 billion merger with

Total Systems in May. This year could very well beat 2018's record year for financial software M&A, which stood at

nearly €60 billion for 602 deals, according to the PitchBook Platform. 

Featured image via jir/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus