The European Commission’s antitrust regulators are poised to rule on whether Mastercard’s $3.2 billion bid for part of the Scandinavian payments company Nets can go through. Mastercard wants to buy three divisions of Nets, including the ones dealing with instant payments and Billing.
In an early June release, the European regulators said that “without prejudice to the outcome of its full investigation, the Commission considers that the transaction threatens to significantly affect competition,” particularly in the Nordic area.
Denmark was the first country to ask the European Commission to examine the deal, followed by Austria, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the U.K.
According to Reuters, the Commission’s regulators will decide by August 3 whether to green-light the deal. The Commission can approve the deal with or without changes in its preliminary review, or it could open a four-month investigation.
“This is really about the continuation of Mastercard’s expansion into being a multi-rail provider,” said Paul Stoddart, president of new payment platforms at Mastercard. In a 2019 interview with PYMNTS, Stoddard said the move follows logically from other Mastercard acquisitions.
In the age of electronic and real-time payments, Stoddart said that Mastercard sees an opportunity tied to the standardization of technologies.
When the deal was announced in August 2019, Mastercard said the blockbuster purchase would take a bite out of its profits for up to two years. The target for closing on the deal would be sometime in the first half of 2020.
Nets, for its part, receives about 80 percent of its revenues from services like bill payment in Denmark and Norway. On its website, the company said it can deliver the payment solution that is “just right” for businesses, along with such offerings as fraud and dispute services, mobile services and consumer management services.