Worldline acquires Ingenico to form a new payment leader


Ingenico, the historical leader of POS terminals is in the process of being acquired by Worldline, with the goal of creating a European champion of payments. According to the Worldline statement, they ambition to create “the European World-Class leader in digital payments” and the “fourth player in payment services worldwide,” after #1: First Data and Fiserv together, #2: FIS and WorldPay combined and #3: TSYS and Global payments. Companies say they are creating the #1 merchant acquirer in continental Europe, the #1 European payment processor, serving over 1 million merchants with an installed base of 25 million POS terminals.


The companies have announced that Worldline would launch a tender offer for all Ingenico shares, valuing the company at EUR 7.8 billion. Ingenico just announced its preliminary results for 2019: EUR 3,370 million sales, a 10% growth vs. 2018, an EBITDA of EUR 606 million and a net income of EUR 208 million. With its 8,000 employees, Ingenico claims to have a 37% marketshare in the global payment terminal market and over 30 million terminals installed worldwide.


Worldline is the heir of blue chip companies in the French payment and IT ecosystem: Sligos and Axime which combined into Atos, later becoming Atos Worldline. Then, Worldline ran a series of acquisitions including Banksys, Equens, First Data Baltics, Digital River and SIX Payment Services. Worldline now covers the entire payment value chain, with an offer including a vast array of products and services from in-store POS terminals to online payments, data analytics, banking and fraud protection. As part of the Worldline – Ingenico deal, Atos, which approves the deal, has announced it had reduced its ownership in Worldline from 16.9% to 3.8%. The 12,000 staff company also just announced its 2019 revenue: EUR 2,382 million, up 6.9% year on year, with EUR 602 million operating margin.


With approximately 20,000 employees in 50 countries, the combined group will offer payment services to nearly one million merchants and 1,200 financial institutions. The combined operations will lead to a pro forma 2019 net revenue of EUR 5.3 billion and operating margin of EUR 1.2 billion.

Over the last few years, Ingenico has grown thanks to a series of acquisitions over years, including Bull and De La Rue payment systems, IVI Checkmate, MoneyLine, Sagem Monetel, easycash, Ogone and GlobalCollect among others. Now, the company has expanded its activities along the payment value chain. The company is now organized along three brands: Ingenico Smart Terminals for payment terminals supply, maintenance and management, Ingenico Payment Services for multichannel payment services, and Ingenico ePayments for online payment acceptance. Ingenico has been known to be for sale for a couple years. According to various sources, the company had been in talks with Natixis, Edenred and WorldPay.


Some analysts consider Ingenico was too slow to adapt to the changing ecosystem in commerce and payments: with less physical merchants and a growing share of online commerce, needed skills evolve from electronics systems integration to make POS terminals towards more IT and software to run online payments. The world of payments feels it is under threat of the GAFAM, which control consumer data and have already made inroads into the payment industry, especially in North America. In China, the generalization of QR-codes may make POS terminals marginal. The payment ecosystem is in the midst of significant evolutions, with the inception of Fintech, such as Stripe, Adyen, or smaller ones, which claim to have a share of transaction fees, while opportunities to sell hardware are shrinking.


These factors together have led Ingenico to be looking for an acquirer that could bring consolidation within the payment industry and allow to reach a critical mass among payment companies. Worldline is certainly one of the best finds to achieve this goal.

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