In the latest version of the “will they or won’t they” parlor game that dominates Wall Street, and sometimes the payments industry, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday (Oct. 29) that Visa is in “advanced negotiations” to buy Visa Europe, its counterpart across the pond, for as much as $22 billion.
That price tag — and a possible announcement date that could come as soon as Monday — come from unnamed people “familiar with the matter,” according to WSJ.
As has been widely reported, the two companies have been in discussions over the years about merging; that discussion has turned more serious in 2015 as Visa has repeatedly expressed, explicitly, its desire to link up with Visa Europe. A deal has been slated to come by the end of October, the payments giant projected in its latest earnings call. A few tells that something big might be brewing, according to WSJ: Visa usually posts its earnings in late October with a traditional post-market close announcement; but, this time around, the earnings report will be on Nov. 2 and come before the open, which would be the afternoon in Europe. So, could there be a joint press release/conference call?
In an interview with WSJ, Lisa Ellis, an analyst at sell-side firm Sanford C. Bernstein, said, “This deal has come and gone many times, but it is hard to imagine, when they have come this far, what could happen to make either side walk away.” Ellis has noted recently that a tie-up between the two firms would grow Visa’s EPS within two years by as much as 12 percent.