CI’s dealwatch keeps track of the mergers and
acquisitions taking place in the global payment industry, and this
month, smaller payment players are stepping into the spotlight.
With many economies now carefully edging their way out of
recession, will the big players return to the bidding fray or will
they continue to bide their time?

September and October were relatively
quiet months for mergers and acquisitions. This was hardly
surprising given that many economies are only just beginning to
emerge from recession, including the US, which in late October
reported third-quarter GDP growth of 0.9 percent – the first growth
for more than two years. Economists and industry analysts are
hopeful that this will boost investor confidence and signal a
re-emergence of the mega-sized M&A deals of a few years

However, several deals have been secured over
the past couple of months. The most notable was perhaps Barclays’
decision to acquire Citi’s Portuguese credit card portfolio.
Barclays is thought to be considering further acquisitions and is
in a relatively strong position to do so, having been one of the
few banking behemoths not to have to rely on taxpayer-funded
government bail-outs.

Elsewhere, Alliance Data Systems continues to
expand its presence in the US and Latin America with deals in the
private-label card portfolio and loyalty sectors. Until the end of
the year, and until fourth quarter economic data confirms that the
US has indeed come out of recession, it is likely to be the smaller
payment players who dominate mergers and acquisitions.

M and A