Wirecard buys stake in Chinese firm, obtains cross-border payments licenses

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Germany’s Wirecard has taken a controlling stake in AllScore Payment Services, a Chinese company with a set of cross-border payments licenses Wirecard hopes will extend its reach to merchants with ties to China.

Leveraging AllScore’s payment licenses through its digital payments platform, Wirecard plans to offer Chinese e-commerce merchants acquiring and local-currency settlement services, while enabling international merchants to accept payments from Chinese consumers in their local currency, according to a Tuesday press release.

AllScore’s payment licenses also provides Wirecard with the capability to issue payment cards to consumers and companies in China, the release said.

“We are excited to share the news of Wirecard entering China. The licenses are a perfect match to the global platform strategy of Wirecard,” said Markus Braun, Wirecard’s CEO, in the release.

“We welcome Wirecard to China and are proud that they have selected us to enter the market, joining in on the efforts of the Chinese government to open the financial sector and improve the regulatory environment for market access to foreign investors,” added Yao Lin, founder and CEO of the 120-person Beijing-based company that was established in 2007.

The deal calls for Wirecard to pay up to €72.4 million (US$80 million) in cash to acquire 80% of AllScore’s shares, and an additional €16.7 million (US$18.5 million) based on next year’s performance, according to the release. Wirecard retains the option to acquire the remaining 20% share of the company after two years, the release said.

Wirecard has come under scrutiny over the last year for allegations of accounting fraud, prompting a series of investigations by The Financial Times. An analyst cited in a FT report on Tuesday said AllScore’s public history is thin and the deal raises “more questions than answers.”

Wirecard conducted an internal investigation this year, then hired KPMG to conduct an outside audit, which Wirecard said did not turn up any significant financial irregularities.

Earlier this year Wirecard received a €900 million (US$1 billion) investment from Japan’s SoftBank.

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