ECONOMY

Eurobank in talks to concede merchant acquiring business

eurobank-in-talks-to-concede-merchant-acquiring-business

Eurobank, one of Greece’s four largest lenders, is in talks with Italy’s Nexi and French payments firm Worldline to sell its merchant acquiring business, banking sources told Reuters on Friday.

“Discussions are at an advanced stage,” one of the bankers said, declining to be named. “It has received firm offers.”

Eurobank, advised by Barclays, aims for a deal by the fourth quarter.

It will be the third Greek bank to offload its payments infrastructure involving point-of-sale (POS) terminals, after Piraeus Bank and Alpha Bank concluded deals this year.

Eurobank, Nexi and Worldline were not immediately available for comment.

In March, Piraeus signed a binding agreement to sell its merchant acquiring unit to Euronet Worldwide for 300 million euros.

In August, peer Alpha, advised by Deutsche Bank, agreed to team up with Italy’s Nexi in the payments acceptance business in Greece. Under that deal, Alpha will spin off its merchants acquiring business unit into a new entity in which Nexi will acquire 51% for €157 million in cash.

The accelerated shift away from cash is heating up the battle for scale in Europe’s so-called paytech market.

Nexi is a leading paytech company in Italy, connecting banks, merchants and consumers in digital payments. It has gained scale after merging with Nordic rival Nets in June and then agreeing to merge with Italian rival SIA.

Worldline bought Handelsbanken’s card-acquiring activities in the Nordic countries in July. [Reuters]