Visa Europe Ltd., operating as an entirely separate company and a bank membership association for nearly a decade after Visa Inc. became a publicly traded company, had a news flash for its members June 21, proclaiming: "We are One Visa" on its Website.

Visa Inc. completed its acquisition of Visa Europe this week, closing a deal that has officially been in the works since November of 2015, but talked about for several years.

Visa's global company will now serve 17,100 financial institutions and partners, more than 40 million merchant outlets and three billion card accounts.

The European Commission approved of the buy out earlier this month after Visa had changed the terms of the deal to appease the commission's anti-trust concerns. To gain EC favor, Visa took out a planned earn-out facet of the deal in exchange for an extra 1.75 billion euros in cash.

Aside from the benefits of merging under one Visa brand, the companies have looked at the deal as a way to accelerate and improve technology advancements, as Visa Europe has a strong track record in the digital and mobile space.

Visa Europe was posting strong revenue gains prior to the deal, which was reported to be in the 21.2 billion euros [U.S. $23.9 billion] range.

Visa also quickly announced that Gary Hoffman, CEO of Hastings Group and chairman of Visa Europe, would become a member of the merged board of directors. He will be on the audit and risk committee.

“It is exciting to be part of the next chapter in the Visa story," Hoffman said in a June 21 press release. "Visa Europe has performed strongly as a business and combining with Visa Inc. will provide European clients with greater access to the global scale, additional innovation resources and range of capabilities necessary to continue to offer the best payment services to their customers."

Visa has estimated that the merged company could generate up to $200 million in annual "pre-tax cost synergies" by 2020, representing about 30% of Visa Europe's operating expenses.

Visa branded cards and payment products enable approximately $6.8 trillion in global payments annually, Visa said.

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