Global Payments acquires TSYS for $21.5b

The consolidation wave among payments companies got a major boost today with Global Payments’ acquisition of Total Payments Systems (TSYS) for $21.5 billion in stock. It’s the third major payments M&A deal this year, following FIS’ acquisition of Worldpay for $35 billion in March and Fiserv‘s move to buy First Data in January for $22 billion.

Global Payments offers payments technology and software solutions for its clients, while TSYS focuses on payment processing, issuing and merchant services. The combined capabilities, operating under the Global Payments name, will offer integrated payments and software services to 3.5 million mostly small to medium-sized merchants and 1,300 financial institutions across more than 100 countries.

“This transformative partnership accelerates our technology-enabled, software-driven payments strategy and provides exposure into attractive and complementary businesses, while enhancing our financial strength and flexibility,” Global Payments CEO Jeff Sloan said in a statement.

Industry analysts told Bank Innovation the acquisition will let the combined entity scale more quickly and grow its global presence, while staking out a competitive position against other large payments players.

“Traditional merchant and bank card processors need greater scale,” said Brendan Miller, former principal payments analyst at Forrester Reasearch and global product marketing lead at Rapyd. “Margins are compressing and, when margins compress, more scale is required.”

According to Thad Peterson, senior analyst at Aite Group, the merger will contribute to the growing globalization of payments platforms. “They need to have a global presence if they want to stay competitive with the big guys,” he added.

Mergers of legacy tech companies, however, sometimes have proven to be challenging to implement. For example, a recent report from consulting firm The Strawhecker Group claimed that the integration of First Data and Fiserv could take up to a decade.

Still, Moshe Katri, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, is optimistic on Global Payments’ prospects due to elements the two businesses have in common, notably payments technology and service arms. “If you compare this transaction to the other two [recent payments acquisitions] that are pending, this one has the most overlap in terms of merchant processing capability,” he said. “From my perspective, that will provide for significant cost synergies.” 

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