Worldline buys majority stake in GoPay, fueling Eastern Europe expansion

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Worldline has acquired a 53% stake in Czech Republic-based GoPay, furthering an Eastern European expansion effort with an option to acquire the remaining shares in 2022.

GoPay is an online merchant acquirer serving small and medium-sized firms with major operations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. GoPay serves more than 9,000 e-commerce clients in those three countries and generated approximately €7 million (about $7.6 million) in revenue in 2019. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020.

“Worldline has made significant progress in its M&A strategy roadmap by signing an agreement for the bolt-on acquisition of GoPay, a true specialist in online payments in Eastern Europe," Worldline Chairman and CEO Gilles Grapinet said in a press release. "Our resilient business model and our adaptability enable us to pursue our roadmap despite uncertainties linked to the COVID-19. I am looking forward to welcoming 45 new payment experts in the Czech Republic.”

The GoPay acquisition comes fresh on the heels of Worldline’s $8.6 billion bid for French rival Ingenico in February, which would create the world’s fourth largest payments company and a juggernaut in merchant services. That transaction is also expected to close in the third quarter of 2020 — although there are significantly more approvals required as regulators, employee unions and shareholders are all expected to weigh in on the deal.

The expansion into Eastern Europe follows Worldline’s overall strategy to continue to make inroads in the European geography, serving small businesses with a focus on the growing e-commerce segment.

Worldline said the GoPay acquisition will strengthen its market position in the Czech Republic and its partnership with Komercni Banka, a unit of French banking group Societe Generale that serves retail and business clients in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

As part of the GoPay deal, current GoPay owner Pavel Schwarz will join the buyer along with the other 44 employees to provide Worldline with local expertise in the digital e-commerce segment.

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