Visa Makes Another Big Bet on Fintech, Buying UK Payments Start-Up Currencycloud

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  • Visa is buying Currencycloud in a deal valuing the British payments start-up at £700 million.
  • Founded in 2007, Currencycloud sells software for banks and fintech firms to process cross-border payments.
  • It's the second major acquisition of the year for Visa, which last month agreed to buy Swedish fintech Tink for $2.1 billion.

LONDON — Visa said Thursday it has agreed to buy British payments start-up Currencycloud, in its second major fintech acquisition of 2021.

The deal values Currencycloud at £700 million ($962 million), Visa said. The payments giant led an $80 million investment in Currencycloud at the beginning of 2020. As a result, Visa said the sum it's paying for Currencycloud would be reduced by the outstanding equity it already owns.

Founded in 2007, London-headquartered Currencycloud sells software for banks and fintech firms to process cross-border payments. It's one of many business-focused fintechs that operate behind the scenes powering popular banking and payment apps like Monzo, Starling and Revolut.

"Consumers and businesses increasingly expect transparency, speed and simplicity when making or receiving international payments," said Colleen Ostrowski, Visa's global treasurer.

"With our acquisition of Currencycloud, we can support our clients and partners to further reduce the pain points of cross-border payments and develop great user experiences for their customers," she added.

Shares of Visa were about 0.4% higher Thursday morning New York time. The stock has risen about 23% in the past year thanks to a boom in digital payments during the coronavirus pandemic.

The acquisition of Currencycloud marks Visa's second big takeover this year, according to Crunchbase. The card network company last month agreed to buy Swedish firm Tink for $2.1 billion, after its attempt to acquire Plaid, a U.S. rival, was thwarted by U.S. regulators.

The move is part of an ongoing push from Visa and rival credit card firm Mastercard into fintech, as alternative payment methods like virtual wallets and bank-to-bank transactions gain traction.

Currencycloud has raised more than $160 million in total funding from investors including Google parent company Alphabet's venture capital arm GV, French bank BNP Paribas and Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings.

"Re-imagining how money flows around the global economy just got more exciting as we join Visa," said Mike Laven, Currencycloud's CEO.

"The combination of Currencycloud's fintech expertise and Visa's network will enable us to deliver greater customer value to the businesses moving money across borders."

Currencycloud, which has 500 banking and technology clients in more than 180 countries, will continue to operate from its headquarters in London and keep its currency management team. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, Visa said.

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