FIS To Acquire Clear2Pay
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3 September 2014Gareth Lodge
Rumours of this purchase have being down the rounds for months (I was discussing it in June at EBADay), although the acquirer has only been ever referred to as a "US Vendor". In discussions with clients over the last few months, I've highlighted 5 potential suitors (including FIS), and of those, four for very similar reasons. All four have broad FS offerings, but have little or nothing in the core payments space, making Clear2Pay an obvious solution to plug a gap.(Clients - ping me for a discussion of who the vendors are). For FIS, there are some additional benefits to the gap filling, as in addition to their OPF hub, Clear2Pay have card assets (including one of the largest install bases in chargeback management systems) and testing capabilities.Testing is a huge part of payments, but one which often gets overlooked. For Clear2Pay the existing relationships that FIS has, particularly in the US, and the breadth of resources at their disposal, should have definite benefits. There are some obvious challenges ahead, not least the fact that few "big company subsumes smaller company" stories come without casualties in the smaller company. With Clear2Pay being a very entrepreneurial company, with some very visible and involved leaders, it'll be even more important than ever to address this early on. More broadly for industry, it continues a trend of consolidation in payment vendors. Clear2Pay came close to being acquired a couple of years ago. That suitor, and the other three I highlighted in my conversations, now find themselves with both still with a gap, and now an arch-rival who has the largest and arguably most visible player in the market. One of the vendors I highlight has repeatedly approached one of the other payment hub vendors over the years. ACI, already a hub vendor, bought Distra, a payments framework, to strengthen their offerings. In short, this is a very important deal, signalling the coming of age of payment services hubs, and we very much doubt the last significant transaction in this space.