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


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.

Mergers and Acquisitions:
Cards International dealwatch