MasterCard Buys VocaLink for $920 Million

PURCHASE, N.Y.  – MasterCard Incorporated said it will acquire 92.4 percent of VocaLink Holdings Limited of the U.K. for about £700 million (approximately US$920 million), after adjusting for cash and certain other estimated liabilities. VocaLink’s existing shareholders have the potential for an earn-out of up to an additional £169 million (approximately US$220 million), if performance targets are met.

Under the agreement, a majority of VocaLink’s shareholders will retain 7.6 percent ownership for at least three years.

Based in London, VocaLink operates key payments technology platforms on behalf of UK payment schemes, including:

  • BACS – the Automated Clearing House (ACH) enabling direct credit and direct debit payments between bank accounts
  • Faster Payments – the real-time account-to-account service enabling payments via mobile, internet and telephone
  • LINK – the UK ATM network

In addition, VocaLink offers innovative products with global potential, including ZAPP, a mobile payments app that leverages Fast ACH technology, and licenses its software and provides services to support ACH activities in Sweden, Singapore, Thailand and the United States. In 2015, the company reported revenues of £182 million as it processed more than 11 billion transactions.

This acquisition accelerates MasterCard’s efforts to be an active participant in all types of electronic payments and payment flows and to enhance its services for the benefit of customers and partners. It will allow MasterCard to play a more strategic role in the UK payments ecosystem, while bringing the innovation and knowhow from across the globe back to VocaLink’s home market. The result will be even more choice in how consumers, merchants and governments make and receive payments.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to play a bigger role in payments in the UK, a very strategic market for us,” said Ajay Banga, president and CEO, MasterCard. “VocaLink is a unique company with outstanding technology, assets and people. We look forward to investing in and maximizing the technology, and embedding it in our products and solutions, both in the UK and around the world.”

VocaLink supports and expands the products and services MasterCard offers issuers, governments and merchants, giving them even more relevance and touchpoints with the end consumer. It will be the first true combination of the traditional person-to-merchant cards business with a clearing business, which when fully developed, presents an additional opportunity to make a deeper and sustained shift from the use of cash and checks in business, government and personal payments.

“Today’s announcement is positive news for our partners, customers and employees,” said David Yates, CEO, VocaLink. “We will continue to focus on ensuring that the UK systems perform seamlessly, maintaining the highest levels of quality. At the same time, we’ll invest in further innovation to power competitive payments solutions for consumers and businesses around the globe.”

Upon closing of the deal, VocaLink’s CEO will join the MasterCard management committee.