SIX and Worldline, [Euronext: WLN] have signed a binding agreement to enter into a strategic partnership where SIX will receive 27% of Worldline. The total consideration of 2,303 million euros (CHF 2,750 million) consists of 49,1 million newly issued Worldline shares and a cash consideration of CHF 338 million (€ 283 million), subject to customary net debt and working capital adjustments.
In November of last year, SIX as part of its strategic redirection announced that the cards business (merchant acceptance & acquiring and international card processing) will be carved-out with the aim to enter a strategic partnership. The European payments industry is consolidating, and large players with a broad product and geographic offering are gaining a competitive edge. As one of the leading companies in European payments today, SIX Payment Services is partnering with Worldline to create the leading and largest European payments provider. The respective markets of both partners complement each other very well. New technologies can be jointly and efficiently developed and implemented from a position of strength.
The name SIX Payment Services will until further notice continue to be used in the market. Worldline will be able to benefit from the strong and successful SIX brand in its existing markets. The cards business has a highly attractive and robust growth potential, and SIX wants to participate in this growth going forward. SIX will therefore hold 27% of Worldline and will have two seats on the board of directors.
Customers and stakeholders of both companies will benefit from this partnership. The combined expertise in financial market infrastructure, e-commerce and industry solutions (e.g. retail, hospitality) offers potential for strong organic growth. On top of the organic growth, Worldline has a firm willingness to continue to play a leading role in the European market consolidation, backed by a very strong balance sheet. The relationships to existing customers of SIX Payment Services will remain unchanged.
The current management and over 1,300 employees of SIX Payment Services in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria, Germany, Poland, as well as other locations in Europe, will become part of Worldline’s organization.
The transaction is expected to close during the last quarter of 2018.
Romeo Lacher, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SIX: “In an environment that has recently excelled above all through consolidation, we are actively shaping this development so that going forward we can continue to be the central provider of payment services in the financial market infrastructure sector for our customers in the future. We are very happy that in Worldline we have found a similarly well-known and strong international partner who will work with us to advance and further develop the cards business. This strategic partnership makes us Europe’s leading and largest provider in one go. In the future, in addition to the existing SIX Payment Services offerings, our customers will also benefit from Worldline’s innovative solutions along the entire value chain of cashless payment transactions”.
Gilles Grapinet, Worldline CEO: ‘’We are very happy to welcome, in the coming months, SIX within the Worldline shareholding and governance, and to pursue together our common ambition to create massive value through the future strategic developments of our Company. For Worldline, reinforced by the talents of our future managers and colleagues from SIX Payment Services, this formidable industrial merger is a major step forward towards our goal to become the undisputed payment leader in Europe. Together, we will beneficiate from reinforced industrial scale, synergies and complementarities that will boost our development, our profitability and that will benefit to our customers, shareholders while opening new professional development opportunities for our current and future employees. Through this merger, our Company with its intact financial firepower and its unrivalled size in our continent, will be best positioned to continue its strategic endeavor to build in the heart of Europe a new global leader of the payment industry.’’