Wirecard Mulls Buy-Back Of Shares In SoftBank Deal


Wirecard is thinking about buying back shares in the wake of a partnership with Japan’s SoftBank Group, according to Reuters.

Softbank said on Wednesday (May 8) that the partnership had already provided leads for possible cooperation in digital payments, according to the report.

Wirecard will pay shareholders a “substantial portion” of the proceeds from a 900 million euro ($1 billion) convertible bond issue that SoftBank is going to buy as part of a deal made between the two companies in April, Wirecard CEO Markus Braun said.

“We have already started very quickly to make this partnership happen,” Braun told analysts on a conference call. Wirecard had reported a 41 percent rise in Q1 core profits, which aided in pulling up share prices.

Braun is trying to help Wirecard shake off the scandal that the company has been embroiled in recently, regarding a series of articles in the Financial Times alleging financial malfeasance in the company’s Singapore office.

The scandal took $10 billion off of the company’s market value in the beginning of the year. Braun reported the Q1 results just two weeks after Wirecard published its full-year 2018 accounts, which were delayed due to an internal investigation that concluded the Singapore office may have acted illegally, but that the crimes were independent and didn’t come from the head office in Munich.  

Auditor EY gave Wirecard a “clean” opinion for its annual results, but said that compliance was going to be tighter after it found shortcomings in the way software licenses were issued to partners.

Braun said it had attractive leads from SoftBank’s portfolio, including companies in Asia, Europe and the U.S. that could potentially collaborate on digital payments.

Braun also said Wirecard will share an analysis of the partnership’s potential in invites to the June 18 annual general meeting.

“The partnership with SoftBank is a game changer,” said Robin Brass at private bank Hauck & Aufhaeuser. Brass thinks the partnership could boost Wirecard’s ebitda by 100 million euros.