French Payment Giants Worldline and Ingenico Merge in $8.6 Billion Deal

French fintech companies Ingenico and Worldline are set to merge, according to a Feb. 3 press release. The €7.8 billion ($8.6 billion) buyout deal was accepted by shareholders of the companies, both of which had previous exposure to crypto.

The merger and significance for shareholders

As part of the agreement, Worldline will offer Ingenico shareholders a mixed cash and stock compensation, with a premium of 17 percent over its Monday trading levels.

The combined entity will be held primarily by Wordline shareholders, with 65 percent, while the remaining 35 percent will be in the hands of Ingenico investors.

The merger continues a trend of consolidation in the payments industry. Earlier in January, Visa acquired fintech startup Plaid, which also had a small cryptocurrency footprint.

Ingenico and Wordline’s crypto exposure

Worldline provides a large variety of services ranging from Point of Sale terminals, online merchant services to e-ticketing and fleet management systems. Ingenico is primarily known for its Point of Sale devices despite major diversification efforts. Its board of directors removed former CEO for 11 years Philippe Lazare in November 2018.

One year later in November 2019, Ingenico had partnered with Pundi X, a project developing crypto-friendly Point of Sale devices. The crypto project used one of Ingenico’s devices to offer payments in major cryptocurrencies via its software.

In August, Ingenico was one of the collaborators in an Austrian initiative to accept cryptocurrencies in several telecom stores.

Ingenico’s share price has more than doubled in 2019. At a public conference call, Gilles Grapinet, CEO of Worldline, defended the company’s decision to buy it now and not last year:

“Timing is everything. If you look at the stock price, it could’ve been a bargain, but I’m not sure the board of Ingenico would’ve been ready to sell.”

Worldline itself has also dealt with cryptocurrency. In November, a partnership with Bitcoin Suisse enabled 85,000 merchants to accept crypto in Switzerland.

The combined company’s stance on crypto is likely to be positive, but remains uncertain. Cointelegraph reached out for more details on the matter, but did not immediately receive a response. The article will be updated as more information is available.