MasterCard buys DataCash

Steve Dinneen
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MasterCard will buy British payment services provider DataCash Group for £333m in cash to expand its e-commerce business.

The world’s second-largest credit and debit card payment processer, said it will pay 360p per share, a 54 per cent premium to DataCash’s Wednesday closing price.

MasterCard said the deal would increase its ability to process payments online, especially in Europe and emerging markets.

DataCash helps merchants accept online payments and provides them with fraud-prevention services.

MasterCard’s new chief executive, Ajay Banga, is trying to boost the company’s profits by developing its online and mobile payments processing business.

The company is looking for faster growth in non-US markets, where many consumers still use cash instead of plastic or online payments.

Banga is also trying to catch up to arch-rival Visa, the world’s largest credit and debit card processing network. In April, Visa signed a $2bn (£1.3bn) deal to buy the payment processor CyberSource Corp.

Both Visa and MasterCard are trying to stay abreast of competition with eBay’s PayPal, which many consumers think of first when they buy something online, analysts said.

MasterCard expects the deal to reduce its fourth-quarter earnings by about five cents per share, break even in 2011, and add to earnings in 2012.

DataCash posted adjusted pre-tax profit of £16.6m on turnover of £36.9m in 2009.

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of October.
MasterCard shares closed at $212.86 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.


DATACASH executive chairman Ashley Head, who has over 30 years experience in the payments and banking industry, stands to make a staggering £144m from the sale of the firm.

He yesterday said of the deal: “The proposed acquisition represents a significant opportunity for DataCash to drive increased adoption of our platforms and programmes internationally and become part of the exciting value proposition of MasterCard.”

This is not the first time Head has enjoyed a bumper pay-day. In 2007 he sold 1.2m shares in the company at 2.40p each, netting around £2.88m.

He has been bullish about the health of DataCash. In March he said: "The board anticipates further growth in revenue, profits and dividends in 2010.”

Head was involved in setting up ProcCyber, a bespoke payments and risk solutions firm acquired by DataCash in June 2006. He currently owns a 43.3 per cent stake in DataCash.

Head, who has a hands-on management role at the firm, has worked for MasterCard as senior vice president for Africa.

He has also had a stint as director of technology and electronic banking for The National Commercial Bank in Saudi Arabia.