Card International’s dealwatch keeps track of the mergers and acquisitions taking place in the global payment industry. This month, while deals are still being forged between the smaller players, many of the larger firms are looking to welcome the New Year in as quietly as possible.
Several small deals and joint ventures marked the usually quiet period between December and the New Year. In Europe and the US a lot of activity was due to consolidation within the software and security sphere, while any kind of movement in card portfolios was notably absent.
The most significant deals were the SK Telecom acquisition of a minority stake in Hana Financial’s card unit Hana Card; and India’s ICICI Bank joint venture with First Data. The SK acquisition puts the company in a unique position within South Korea as the first telco to enter the cards market. Many global telecoms operators will be watching to see what happens.
ICICI and First Data’s offspring ICICI Merchant Services is storming ahead. With a reported expansion to 500,000 terminals over the next five years, from 150,000, it will become a major Indian market player.