News In Brief - Worldline Buys Greek Merchant Acquirer

December 8, 2021
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Payments processor Worldline has announced the acquisition of an 80 percent stake in Greece’s Eurobank Merchant Acquiring services for €256m.

Payments processor Worldline has announced the acquisition of an 80 percent stake in Greece’s Eurobank Merchant Acquiring services for €256m.

Eurobank, one of Greece’s top four systemically important banks, sold its majority stake in its merchant acquiring arm to Worldline as part of a strategic decision to focus on its core business activities.

Through the acquisition, Worldline will gain a 21 percent share of Greece’s growing merchant acquiring market, which will add to its existing presence in the country. In September, the French-based payments company acquired Cardlink, which operates the largest card acceptance network in Greece with more than 290,000 point of sale (POS) terminals and 19,000 e-commerce businesses, through its multi-acquiring POS platform.

With €2.2bn in revenues in 2020, Worldline says it is the number one merchant acquirer in continental Europe.

Interest in the Greek merchant acquiring should, therefore, not come as any surprise given that it is the fastest growing cards market in the EU. According to the European Central Bank's (ECB) annual payment statistics report, card payments in Greece increased by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39 percent between 2016 and 2020, jumping from 302m transactions to 1.1bn transactions during the period.

To put this in perspective, Greece’s cards market is growing at roughly four times the average annual rate of the EU as a whole.

According to Worldline, the acquisition is in line with its strategy to grow its merchant services in Southern Europe, and to leverage its previous Cardlink acquisition: “The combination of both companies will create a meaningful, comprehensive and leading position in the fast-growing Greek market that is driven by a steady ongoing adoption of electronic payments.”

Worldline said it expects the deal to close in the second quarter of 2022 subject to relevant conditions being met.

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