Virginia-based FinTech firm Far Point closed a $2.6 billion merger deal with Switzerland’s tourism shopping tax refund company Global Blue, earning it a listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the companies announced Thursday (Jan. 16).
Global Blue runs airport kiosks and storefronts that enable shoppers to get sales tax refunds when they return home.
Far Point was founded in 2018 to acquire FinTechs and was launched by activist investor Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund company Third Point and former NYSE President Thomas Farley. A total of $350 million was invested in the merger deal from Ant Financial, with $125 million; and Third Point with an additional $225 million — $100 million from Third Point itself and the rest from other investors.
The majority of Global Blue has been owned by private equity investor Silver Lake. Silver Lake and other owners will retain roughly 42 percent of the combined company. Global Blue CEO Jacques Stern will remain, and Farley will become chairman.
“Global Blue is the clear market leader in the attractive and growing Tax Free Shopping ecosystem worldwide,” said Farley. “The company has achieved remarkable progress in digitalization, geographic expansion and strategic value creation under Jacques’ leadership and the stewardship of its existing shareholders, including controlling shareholder Silver Lake, whose principals I have known personally and professionally for years.”
Global Blue handled 64 million transactions for 29 million international shoppers in the fiscal year ending March 2019. The company employs 2,000 people across 51 countries.
Stern said the move will generate “long-term value for Global Blue and its shareholders.”
He added that with additional investments, the company’s high-tech platform will “bring value to all our partners and customers.” He said the company is looking forward to “accelerating our strategic collaboration with Ant Financial as a showcase of such innovation.”
Airports connect luxury brands with consumers looking for something different they can’t buy at home. Luxury brands are also hoping to attract travelers who might be interested in checking out something completely different by way of new merchandise.
Research firm Data Circle indicated that duty-free and other travel-retail channels saw a 9.3 percent jump in global sales, which hit $76 billion last year.