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MasterCard Buys UK FinTech Firm VocaLink For £700m

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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MasterCard hopes buying BACS and LINK operator will allow it to take a greater interest in mobile payments in the UK

MasterCard has bought British fintech firm VocaLink for £700 million, allowing the former to play a more strategic role in “all types” of payments in the UK.

London-based VocaLink generated revenues of £182 million last year and processed 11 billion transactions.

It handles a number of payment technology platforms in the UK, including BACS, the automated clearing house that enables direct credit and debit card payments between bank accounts, the account to account payment service and LINK, the UK ATM network.

Mastercard VocaLink

pingit barclays zappMasterCard also sees “global potential” for VocaLink’s software licensing and its Zapp mobile payments application.

“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, MasterCard CEO.

“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.”

“Today’s announcement is positive news for our partners, customers and employees,” added David Yates, VocaLink CEO. “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.”

Once the transaction has been completed, Yates will join the MasterCard management committee. The deal could be concluded by early 2017 and is subject to the usual regulatory and closing conditions.

MasterCard has actually bought a 92.4 percent stake in VocaLink and the remainder will continue to be owned by the latter’s shareholders.

The deal is the second major acquisition of a UK technology firm by a foreign investor this week. Japanese giant Softbank announced it is to buy Cambridge-based chip designer ARM for £24 billion.

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