Visa gets cheque book out to acquire Earthport for £198m

Visa acquisition

Credit card giant Visa is to acquire London-listed Earthport in a £198 million deal.

Earthport provides cross-border payment services to banks and businesses.

The deal, for 30p per share, represents a 250% premium to Earthport’s six month average stock price.

Earthport’s board is recommending that shareholders vote in favour of the deal.

Over 17% of Earthport investors – including Oppenheimer and OFI Global Institutional – have already committed to rubber stamping the takeover.

Shares in Earthport jumped from 7.45p to 29p shortly after the market open.

Earthport chairman Sunil Sabharwal said: “The Earthport board believes the offer by Bidco represents an opportunity for shareholders to realise an immediate and attractive cash value in Earthport today.

“Visa shares our vision of growth and expansion for Earthport and, as such, we believe it is a suitable and appropriate partner for our employees, partners, customers and other stakeholders.”

The deal comes after a difficult year for Earthport in which it lost a major a customer, saw reduced transaction volumes and underwent a management shakeup.

Amanda Mesler was appointed chief executive in July and set about addressing the firm’s issues.

She said on Thursday: “My focus, following a full strategic review, has been to rapidly implement a transformational growth strategy.

“Whilst I believe Earthport is well positioned to deliver the potential it has always possessed, the all-cash offer from Visa represents a very attractive and immediate return for our shareholders.

“Visa shares our commitment to operational and technological excellence in cross border payments, and completion of the transaction would mean that Earthport and its customers will benefit from new opportunities arising from being part of a larger group with a shared vision.”