Payments Consolidation as Vantiv, Attensity and WorldPay agree deals

Vantiv has agreed a $1.65bn deal to buy US Mercury Payment Systems from private equity owner Silver Lake Group, which will now abandon its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) for the firm, and seek to complete the acquisition in Q2 this year. Meanwhile, WorldPay has made a strategic investment in Pazien Inc, a start-up based in Boston, US, that is also targeting merchant-based payment and tracking solutions, and Attensity has raised $90m in private equity funding to fund growth.

Mercury has a network of more than 3,000 Point-of-Sale (PoS) software developers and dealers that serve small and medium-sized businesses across North America with payment and tracking capabilities and Vantiv believes it offers it good growth capabilities. It generated net revenue of $237m last year, up 17% on the previous 12 months and Vantiv hopes the deal will help boost its presence in the fast-growing integrated payments arena, including electronic e-invoicing, near field communication (NFC) and other potentially useful areas for treasurers and finance professionals involved in the consumer-facing financial supply chain.

Worldpay’s unspecified investment in Pazien is thought to be in the millions and may lead to fuller stake or takeover in later years if the Boston-based start-up’s merchant focused payment solutions gain market traction. The firm is seeking to create products that “simplify and demystify the payments ecosystem, which is becoming more complicated for businesses of all sizes around the globe to understand and manage”. A noble, if difficult aim, and only if the firm is successful in offering smaller firms the same access to optimising payment times, costs and structures as large corporates generally enjoy will WorldPay consider increasing its stake.

According to the chief executive officer (CEO) of Pazien, Jason Pavona: “The payments ecosystem continues to evolve and become more complicated for merchants and service providers. The need to clarify and automate the decision-making process, data aggregation and marketplace choices for merchants has never been greater … and our shared vision of universal access to data, analytics and services makes us ideal partners.”

• In other news, Attensity, which provides corporate insight software and multi-channel analytics for Fortune 1000 Companies, has closed a $90m private equity funding round in an attempt to drive future growth. The new capital secured will be used to accelerate product innovation and expand the sales, marketing and engineering teams for the firm’s customer sentiment analysis, engagement and analytics applications, which use patented natural language processing (NLP) technology to try to mine social media and other channels for extra revenue and efficiency opportunities, as well as to reduce business risk and enhance planning. The latter two uses are aimed more at the treasury and corporate, rather than the consumer, market.

Attensity is headed up by its Silicon Valley veteran CEO Howard Lau and analyses more than 150m data sources for a client list that includes Ebay, Yahoo, Microsoft, Verizon and Whirlpool among others.


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