Payments organization Interswitch that has a vast reach in Africa, is reportedly exploring talks with America’s Visa, the corporation that processes electronic financial transfers of a possible investment. According to Sky News, Interswitch, which is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria will likely receive a $200 investment from Visa that will effectively give the U.S. multinational a 20 percent stake. The deal, should it go through, will precede or be announced alongside a London IPO that should go live before the year ends.
Interswitch has been in the payments for an extended period, serves several banks in Nigeria, and deploys services and products such as POS terminals, online payment platforms to millions of customers. The company has acquired several upcoming payments startups, and currently owns Verve, Nigeria’s most popular payments card. Verve is also available in other markets such as Kenya. Interswitch also owns Quickteller and Retailpay, an online payments platform and mobile business management system, respectively.
Interswitch has also been involved in the implementation of payment gateways for the likes of Telkom Kenya (T-Kash) and large-scale retailers such as Naivas Supermarket.
Visa’s input will reportedly see Interswitch expand its turf across the continent in an extremely popular and growing digital payments space.
The development is not the first of its kind in Africa. several American corporations have been pumping money in Africa-based payments platforms, including Mastercard that has made several collaborations with products such as Airtel Money.
Interswitch is also an obvious choice based on its current reach, as well as current and future profit-making prospects. For instance, Verve is currently serving near 20 million customers on the continent.
Helios Investment Partners owns a significant share in Interswitch. The London-based company, which also the major shareholder in Kenya’s carrier Telkom, will likely sell its stock to other companies if circumstances allow it to do so.
So far, none of the organizations have commented on the matter, although it won’t be long before either party acknowledges or denies the existence of such a deal.