The payments industry was the most active segment for mergers and acquisitions in 2014, but saw a shark 21% decrease in 2015 to fall behind capital markets, the top category.
In 2014, the payments industry completed 140 acquisition transactions, up 46% from the previous year's 96. The payments industry had 111 transactions in 2015, down from 140 in 2014, according to Berkery Noyes’ annual report.
Despite the decline, some of the largest deals came in the payments industry. The largest came with the Global Payments acquisition of Heartland Payment Systems in December at $4.31 billion.Bain Capital, Advent International, and Clessidra SGR's acquisition of Istituto Centrale delle Banche Popolari Italiane for $2.5 billion was second, followed by Optimal Payments PLC’s acquisition of Skrill Group for $1.69 billion.WEX Inc.’s acquisition of Electronic Funds Source for $1.47 billion and Davis + Henderson Corp.'s acquisition of FundTech, Ltd. for $1.25 billion rounded out the top five.
Notable deals in the mobile space included PayPal's acquisition of cloud-based payment processor and wallet provider Paydiant for $280 million, and Snapdeal's $379 million acquisition of Freecharge, a mobile commerce platform that providers users coupons for adding money to prepaid mobile plans and paying bills online.
Transaction volume in the capital markets segment increased 42% over the past year, making it the sector with the largest yearly gain. Intercontinental Exchange was responsible for two of the segment’s top 10 highest value deals during the year with the acquisition of Interactive Data Corp., a provider of financial market data and analytics, for $7.45 billion, and Trayport, which offers energy trading solutions to traders, brokers and exchanges, for $646 million.