European Commission approves Mastercard’s €2.85bn Nets deal
The European Commission (EC) has approved Mastercard’s €2.85 billion acquisition of Nets’s account-to-account (A2A) payment business.
Six European countries had previously raised concerns with the watchdog about the deal. Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the UK pressed the EC to analyse the deal under EU law.
Mastercard and Nets reached an agreement over the acquisition back in August 2019.
The acquired business comprises Nets’ corporate services division, clearing and instant payment services and e-billing solutions.
The Commission was primarily concerned with the deal’s effect on the A2A core infrastructure services (CIS) sector.
The watchdog found that due to both Nets and Mastercard being major players in the sector, a merger would further solidify the latter’s strong position.
The EC also found that the parties closely compete with each other, having been shortlisted by customers together in tenders.
Finally, it believes that the resultant company would have little to no discernible competition in the A2A CIS space.
To assuage the EC’s fears, Nets and Mastercard agreed to offload a licence for Nets’ Realtime 24/7 technology to a third party.
The third party will have exclusive access to the technology in the European Economic Area (EEA). The licence transfer also includes all necessary personnel and services, such as consultancy services.
“The proposed commitments fully address the Commission’s competition concerns,” writes the EC. The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, no longer raises competition concerns in the EEA.”
The EC’s decision is conditional upon full compliance.