Visa has announced it will buy its former subsidiary Visa Europe Ltd. for $23.3 billion—a far higher price than expected. Visa hopes to streamline its offerings in an attempt to compete with MasterCard and other big-name competitors.
Visa Inc. and Visa Europe, a cooperative of European banks and more than 500 million cards, were part of the main Visa company until 2007. Visa Inc. went public in 2008 and became a separate entity.
This new deal puts all of Visa’s assets together once more, which is likely to help the company raise profits and offer a wider range of services. The deal will also benefit more than 3,000 companies, including Barclays Plc, the most active bank in the network.
Visa said it would pay 16.5 billion euros up front in cash and convertible stock, with the potential for a further payment of up to 4.7 billion euros based on revenue targets covering the four years after the deal closes.
“We will work with our banks, who formerly were members, to come up with relationships that are more commercial than what you might have struck when you were dealing with an owner,” said Chief Financial Officer Vasant Prabhu.
A combination of factors makes this a great time for companies like Visa to consolidate: the strong dollar, low rates, and record cash balances, for example. In August, Coca-Cola struck a similar deal to take control of its bottling operations in Europe. And about two years ago, Verizon made a $130 billion deal to buy 45% of Verizon Wireless from Vodafone. Buying out their subsidiaries allows large companies like these to organize their services and better serve customers across the world.
For Visa, this means an increased scale for global customers and more efficiency throughout the company.
“We are very excited about unifying Visa into a single global company with unmatched scale, technology, and services,” said Visa CEO Charles W. Scharf.