Deals that I now completely understand and can relate to!

I would not describe myself as an early adopter of technology. I sort of get around to things eventually when it comes to anything tech or remotely cutting edge. Apple Pay being a case in point; having just upgraded my phone I finally have both the inclination and the technology to allow me to join the world of “mobile payment”. I am already wondering how I ever managed without it. All of the smaller purchases that required me to carry cash (I have always felt a sense of guilt at paying for anything less than about GBP 15 with anything but cash!) have been surpassed this week; with a quick flash of my phone at the retailer’s appropriate place, hey presto, it’s all sorted.

That’s why this morning’s announcement that CVC and Blackstone have made an offer worth over GBP 3bn for Paysafe, the online payments company, following on the back of the announcement of a number of deals for online / mobile payment companies over the course of the last few months, takes on a completely new meaning to me.

Having seen the announcement of this deal and the media interest it has generated I decided to take a quick look back in time to determine when the M&A world spotted the trend that I only got to this week! I ran a search on all announced M&A / PE deals where a controlling stake has been acquired in a target company involved in mobile / online payments in the last 10 years and it made for very interesting reading!

Between 2008 and the end of 2012 there were fewer than 100 deals totalling a little over USD 7.2bn. Since the beginning of 2013 there have been 286 deals totalling USD 27.6bn (if we include today’s offer for Paysafe). With the announcement of the Paysafe deal this morning the sector is already showing a 25 per cent increase by deal value when compared with the whole of 2016 and we are only 6½ months into the year! July seems to have been especially busy; with Bambora, Digital River World Payments, Paytrail, E-pay, Paysbuy, and Docdata Payments, companies located all over the world and all involved in online or mobile payments, being subject to acquisition.

With the changes in technology meaning that more and more people are likely to move like myself into the world of mobile payments, the consolidation being seen in this industry at present is no surprise and makes me wonder about the future of cash itself!