According to reports from Sky News, MasterCard is in what’s being referred to as “exclusive talks” with VocaLink to buy the U.K.’s faster payments operating system in order to gain a larger share of the card market.
The report indicates that there are 13 banks that serve as shareholders for Vocalink, which have reportedly approved the deal with MasterCard to enter into the negotiation stage. This deal is projected to be worth £1 billion (roughly $1.4B) and would involve the U.K.’s largest banks — Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland, which collectively own 80 percent of VocaLink.
In terms of payments volume, VocaLink processed 1 billion transactions in 2015, which according to Sky News’ calculations amounts to half of all U.K. payments. VocaLink also processed 90 percent of salaries and at least 70 percent of all household’s bills and state benefits.
According to unnamed sources cited by the publication, MasterCard is after the tech side of VocaLink and its ability to scale its international side. And so far, with MasterCard only capturing around 5 percent of the debit card payments in the U.K., it makes sense why MasterCard would want to enter a deal like this in order to compete better with Visa abroad.
That news, of course, comes on the heels of the news that Visa had to alter the Visa Europe takeover terms in order to align with anti-trust regulator concerns.
Neither MasterCard or VocaLink have commented on the matter.