AIB, First Data reach deal to buy Payzone

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Allied Irish Banks and First Data's joint venture have agreed to a $112 million deal to purchase Payzone, a consumer payment network and merchant acquirer based in Dublin.

AIB hopes the transaction will add fintech capabilities and expand Payzone’s payments footprint in Ireland.

The joint venture is 75% owned by AIB and 25% owned by U.S.-based First Data, and the Payzone deal is subject to regulatory approval, according to the Irish Times and other media reports. The offer is for 95.9% of Payzone, with the remaining 4.1% shares being held by Payzone management. Approximately about $69 million of the offer is in cash.

The joint venture and bid for Payzone comes at a time when First Data is being acquired by Fiserv. The Fiserv deal to buy First Data is valued at $22 billion, and that acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2019. Requests for comment from First Data and Fiserv did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

Payzone is the largest consumer payments network in Ireland and has more than 7,000 retail agents and more than 300,000 registered users. Its largest corporate clients include Electric Ireland, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Media, Leap, Fastway, Eir and Eflow. The company processes mobile phone and travel card top-ups, debit and credit card transactions, as well as payments for utilities, toll, parking and package delivery.

The deal had been in the making for several months as the primary stakeholder in Payzone, private equity firm Carlyle Cardinal of Ireland, put the business up for sale last year. Carlyle Cardinal of Ireland is a unit of the Carlyle Group and had acquired the business in 2015 from Duke Street.

Since AIB is 71% owned by the Irish government it will mean that taxpayers will own a major part of the AIB/First Data JV, reports RTE, Ireland’s national public broadcaster.

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