It looks like it’s official — Mastercard will be allowed to acquire Vocalink for £700M, now that the UK’s competition authority has cleared the deal.
Final approval came after Mastercard agreed to open up some of Vocalink’s network to competitors to ease concern about anti-competitive pressures the deal might create.
Vocalink had been owned by a consortium of 18 UK banks and building societies, including Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander. Mastercard made its first moves toward acquisition last July — but the Competition and Markets Authority voiced concerns that such a deal would ultimately lower competition at the ATM as Vocalink and Mastercard are two of only three credible providers of services for the Link ATM system (Visa is the third).
To make the deal more palatable to anti-trust regulators, MC and Vocalink have agreed that Vocalink’s existing network can be opened up to a new services supplier. Vocalink will also transfer certain intellectual property rights related to messaging on the network to Link.
With its concerns fully addressed, the CMA has ruled the deal is fit to proceed. Mastercard believes the deal will be completed in the next few weeks.
“Adding bank account-based payments alongside our card network extends what we can do and how we can do it. Together, we’ll be one partner to meet all payment needs of businesses, governments and consumers,” noted Michael Miebach, Mastercard’s chief product officer.