Worldline’s Italian deal speeds up payment mergers and acquisitions
MILAN, July 1 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The French payments elephant Worldline (WLN.PA) crosses the Alps. The $ 26 billion group is purchase 80% of the trading activity of the Italian unit BNL of BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), valued at 220 million euros including debt. This is 22 times the EBITDA expected from the target of nearly 10 million euros this year, higher than the 18 times multiple of Worldline, but broadly in line with that of the Italian market leader Nexi (NEXII.MI). And, after factoring in just half of the expected $ 15 million in cost and revenue savings, the metric drops to 15 times more reasonable, the company estimates.
Worldline’s foray is a bet on warming Italy to online payments. Despite the pandemic, cash represented 78% of transactions in 2020. Other transactions could follow. Payment businesses need scale and investment, so it makes sense for banks to entrust them to a specialist. Nexi, for example, paid € 1 billion for Intesa Sanpaolo’s payment unit (ISP.MI) in 2019. With another large player expanding in Italy, now is the right time for lenders to to sell. (By Lisa Jucca)
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Editing by Neil Unmack and Oliver Taslic
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