Mastercard swoops on Visa with counter £233m offer for Earthport

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

Mastercard has made a counter bid for London-based cross-border payments firm Earthport.

The move could spark a bidding war with rival Visa, which made a £198m offer for the UK payments firm last month.

Earthport’s board of directors had already recommended that shareholders vote in favour of the earlier Visa deal. However, interim Chairman, Sunil Sabharwal, has now moved to recommend Mastercard’s higher offer.

Into orbit: Earthport's shares have soared on counter bid from Mastercard

“The board of Earthport is pleased to recommend Bidco’s (Mastercard’s) cash offer for Earthport, which is at a 10 per cent premium to the Visa proposal. This offer provides our shareholders with even greater value in cash for their shares”, he said.

In a statement, the board of Earthport withdrew its recommendation for Visa’s offer and urged shareholders to back the Mastercard deal instead.

The board has also proposed that a meeting scheduled for 21 February 2019, at which shareholders would have voted on the Visa deal, be adjourned.

Earthport’s shares are listed on the London Stock Exxhcange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), for smaller stocks. 

The shares soared 26 per cent to 35p on news of Mastercard’s counter offer, giving Earthport a market capitalisation of £173m, according to the London Stock Exchange website. 

Last month Earthport’s shares shot up 250 per cent on news of the Visa offer.

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