FIS looks for scale in Worldpay deal

By Michael McCaw | 6 August 2019

The announcement of the closure of FIS’s acquisition of Worldpay last week is part of a continual expansion strategy into new markets and opportunities, according to Alison Wilkes, head of banking and payments, Europe at FIS.

“Where we see opportunities to grow our solution set and our reach for our customers – that’s key to us,” she says. “We’ve been successful in this strategy before and we’ll continue to grow. Expanding our brand in terms of maturing some of the markets in which we’re in – whether it’s payments or banking – adding onto that portfolio is where we look for potential.”

The combination – which was announced in March this year – comes in a wave of similar merger and acquisition activity in the fintech space, with large scale deals such as Fiserv’s $21.79bn purchase of First Data making headlines earlier this year and Global Payments’ purchase of Total System Services $22.15bn in May. The FIS Worldpay deal is worth $35.36bn.

Wilkes is adamant however that the FIS Worldpay deal is less of a reaction to that activity and purely about growth prospects.

“We're always looking for new ways we can serve our traditional market, but we also help our clients grow into those new markets as well and really connect them to how they can grow, how they can enable new products and reach new customers,” she says. “We want to maintain the markets we're in, but also look to how we can drive more scale and connect our customers to geographies that maybe they have not been in previously.”

The combined firm will command over $12bn in pro forma revenue with more than 55,000 employees globally, according to FIS.

“We see this as one of the key transactions in tech history. It’s two organizations coming together that really complement each other in terms of where we want to move some of our businesses,” says Wilkes.  

“We’re look at the overall landscape of banking and payments and we want to be more prevalent in our merchant business and providing unique capabilities to power a global omnicommerce but also our traditional business in terms of having that ability to take our clients into new geographies and markets, and to do so in a secure way that connects commerce.

“And then in our capital markets business, which is growing significantly as well. It's about being able to cater for all our clients across that whole financial technology landscape,” she says.

Reception from clients has been positive, says Wilkes, especially from banks who see the agreement as very “complementary businesses in terms of Open Banking”.

“Banks see the opportunity of Open Banking. We’ve had to make our banks ready – they want to provide world class experience, with differentiated, tailored customer solutions. Open Banking gives them that.”

Wilkes expects the volume of merger and acquisition activity to continue, and suggests FIS will be alert to new purchase opportunities.

“There’s been so much of this happening in the market in terms of customers and fintechs – whether it’s a partnership or however those partnerships are coming together – I think that’s going to continue,” she said.

“What we want to do here is remain to be agile and be sure that we remain able to pivot and scale to new markets and new geographies and if that means we need to extend our brand to get there then that’s how we’ll stay ahead of the market.”

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