Optimal Payments Makes €1.1 Billion Play for Skrill (March 23, 2015)
Two of Europe’s biggest e-commerce brands are coming together. Optimal Payments today announced plans to acquire rival Skrill Group for €1.1 billion (US$1.2 billion). The planned purchase, which is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, brings the Skrill digital wallet and paysafecard online voucher under the umbrella of Optimal, which operates its own online payment service, NETELLER.
Optimal characterized the acquisition as “transformational,” saying it would add to the company’s global reach and enable it to capitalize on the opportunities in payment processing and digital wallet markets, particularly within the rapidly expanding online gaming sector, where Skrill operates one of the world’s largest online gaming-focused wallets. The deal reportedly will make Optimal large enough to be listed on the London Stock Exchange’s FTSE 250 index, which includes the 101st to 350th largest companies listed on the exchange. Late last year, Skrill announced plans to acquire online voucher rival Ukash, though that deal has yet to be completed. In August 2013, private equity firm CVC Capital Partners acquired a controlling stake in Skrill for €600 million (US$801 million).
Along with the acquisition news, Optimal released financial results for the fourth quarter of 2014. Company revenues were up 44 percent to $365 million, compared to Q4 2014, while profits rose 65 percent to $86.1 million, Optimal said.
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