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Payments M&A activity remains alive and well through fintech funding drought

The news: Major payment providers are leaning into mergers and acquisitions (M&As) to bolster their product suites and better serve customers.

  • Ingenico acquired UK-based software point-of-sale (softPOS) provider Phos, per a press release. Phos’ technology lets small businesses accept contactless payments with smartphones and tablets, and comes in a white-label version, enabling merchants to add their own branding.
  • Visa and Mastercard are among the firms bidding to acquire cloud-based banking and payments platform Pismo, per Bloomberg. The Brazilian startup is reportedly valued at $1 billion, though Visa recently increased its bid to $1.4 billion, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Why these deals matter: Macroeconomic headwinds are forcing companies to be more judicious with spending this year. They’re focusing on M&A deals that have a direct impact on their value proposition.

  • Phos aligns with Ingenico’s push toward software solutions. After Worldline sold Ingenico to private equity firm Apollo Global Management, Ingenico said it would focus on strengthening its existing POS solutions and offering a greater mix of software and cloud-based tools. Acquiring Phos helps Ingenico better cater to industry trends and attract clients with more diverse payment technology. The number of softPOS users globally will surge 475% between 2022 and 2027, according to Juniper Research.
  • Pismo can help make Visa or Mastercard more attractive for issuers. Both firms are no stranger to M&A deals: In the last five years, Visa and Mastercard have acquired 14 and 28 companies, respectively, per M&A database Mergr. These deals help extend their scope in payments and tech, letting them offer issuers a wide range of services, like fraud protection and open banking. Acquiring Pismo would let Visa or Mastercard offer expanded card issuing tools and banking services to their clients.

The bigger picture: Fintech M&As defied a broader market slump last year—global fintech M&A activity increased 46% year over year (YoY) and reached 591 deals in H1 2022, which also marked a 70% increase from the same period in 2019, according to Hampleton Partners.

Factors like lower fintech funding rounds and valuations are making M&As a more attractive venture for larger firms. We expect incumbent players to seize the opportunity and buy up fintechs over the next five years. This will help payment providers beef up their solutions to attract more clients and grow their market share.

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.