Behind Worldpay Acquisition, Vantiv’s Strategy For Payments, Globally

Marching down the aisle may eventually deliver a whole new bundle of … wait, we’re not talking about babies.

We’re talking about payments. Lots of them.

In a world where payment processing is slated to grow by as much as 33 percent annually over the next few years, as measured by Allied Market Research, the talent acquisition deal between Vantiv and Worldpay stands out. The August announcement spotlighted a firm with 21 billion annual B2B transactions under its belt (Vantiv), broadening reach and scale with the assumption of Worldpay, which will have international headquarters in London.

Post-merger, the company will operate across separate platforms and across domestic and international markets. The firms have said that they will be able to support several hundred payment methods across 146 countries and in more than 100 currencies.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Mark Heimbouch, chief operating officer at Vantiv, outlined a bit of the strategy that led to the talent acquisition.

In evaluating Worldpay, said the executive, the company’s “global eCommerce capabilities and complementary technology, geographic distribution and vertical expertise made it an attractive partner for growth.” That growth, he continued, would be magnified jointly — “more than either of us could do on our own.” The cultures are similar, he said, which should streamline synergies.

The deal was struck after other conversations about mergers between the two companies, which were held in January 2017 and February of 2016 (as disclosed in regulatory filings). Heimbouch said that “now was the time that made sense. Combined, Worldpay and Vantiv will be well-positioned for further success in eGlobal cross-border eCommerce, the fastest-growing part of the payments industry.”

And against that backdrop, the opportunities that open up for Vantiv are ones in which the merged firms will become a “global one-stop shop, offering scalable, reliable solutions that provide customers with robust omnicommerce payment capabilities. Simply put, this combination will provide the opportunity to expand Worldpay’s eCommerce capabilities into the U.S. and extend Vantiv’s omnicommerce capabilities globally.” B2B solutions will also be scaled globally, he added.

Transformation between the two enterprises will not just be outward-facing but will be inward too.  At the very top, there will be a co-CEO model, said Heimbouch, with Vantiv’s Charles Drucker and Worldpay’s Philip Jansen as co-CEOs.

Given the geographic focus of the companies to date, said the executive, “there is a natural split of expertise that the two will be able to leverage.” Drucker has a track record of building businesses, taking Vantiv from a spin-off of Fifth Third Bank in 2009 and becoming one of the top U.S. merchant acquirers as of this year.

Jansen, said Heimbouch, prior to serving as CEO at Worldpay, had previously served as the CEO of Brakes Group, the leading U.K. food service provider. Other positions included roles at Sodexo Holdings Limited, MyTravel Plc, Telewest Communications Plc and Procter & Gamble.

Every merger has its own challenges, but a track record is helpful when it comes to bringing disparate operations together. Employees help to smooth the transition, said the executive.

“Being able to retain the best talent while attracting new talent through these [acquisitive] periods has led us to where we are,” Heimbouch said, “and will continue to lead us well into the future.”