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ACI Worldwide could provide global reach for potential buyer as it mulls sale

The news: ACI Worldwide is reportedly in talks about a possible sale, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The payments technology provider is speaking to private equity firms as it works with financial advisors to assess interest in a sale, the unnamed sources said.

Why ACI is an attractive takeover target:

  • The Miami-based firm could benefit from its relatively small size compared with industry heavyweights.
  • It also has global reach: ACI has offices in 34 countries and has customers in 95 countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Japan.
  • And it’s involved in a range of payments tech, like real-time payments; buy now, pay later (BNPL); and fraud management solutions.
  • ACI’s client list and scale will also appeal to would-be buyers: It counts 19 of the top 20 banks worldwide as customers, processes more than $14 trillion in payments and securities transactions daily, and earned revenues of $1.4 billion in 2021.

How likely is a deal? There’s no certainty ACI will reach a deal, a source told Bloomberg.

  • M&A activity slowed in the second half of last year as high inflation and market volatility stunted the number and total value of deals. Fintech M&A deals dropped to an eight-quarter low in Q3 2022, per CB Insights.
  • A takeover would also require deep pockets for any buyer: ACI’s online banking unit sold for $100 million in September. And the company’s market capitalization was as high as $2.93 billion earlier this week. The challenging economic landscape means it will be difficult for firms to finance takeovers by borrowing.

More consolidation to come? A deal for ACI could kick off a period of consolidation within the payments industry, during which larger firms snap up struggling, smaller firms that can’t survive the tough financial climate.

As challenging economic conditions look set to stay, financially strong payment firms could bolster their product lines and reach through M&A deals. Conversely, struggling fintechs may try to sell before their fortunes worsen, providing potential purchasers with cut-price acquisition opportunities.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Payments Innovation Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the payments industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.