Credit card giant Visa has announced its acquisition of Pismo, a Brazilian payments infrastructure startup, for a staggering $1 billion in cash.
This landmark deal is set to be one of the most significant fintech mergers and acquisitions of the year thus far.
Founded in 2016 by Juliana Motta, Ricardo Josua, Daniela Binatti, and Marcelo Parise, Pismo has quietly garnered an impressive list of high-profile clients, including Citi, Itaú (one of Brazil’s largest banks), Revolut, N26, Nubank, and Cora. The startup’s operations extend beyond Brazil, with a presence in several Latin American countries, the United States, Europe, as well as select markets in India, Southeast Asia, and Australia.
Pismo’s cloud-native issuer processing and core banking platform have been pivotal in providing banks, fintechs, and other financial institutions with the much-needed flexibility and agility to launch innovative products. Its services encompass card and payment solutions, digital banking, digital wallets, and marketplaces. Pismo also prides itself on empowering financial institutions to take control of their core data and utilize it intelligently.
By acquiring Pismo, Visa aims to bolster its capabilities in core banking and issuer processing across debit, prepaid, credit, and commercial cards. The startup’s platform will enable Visa to support emerging payment rails, such as Brazil’s Pix, and provide enhanced connectivity for its financial institution clients. The acquisition aligns with Visa’s strategic vision to offer differentiated issuer solutions and strengthen its relationships with financial institutions and fintech clients worldwide.
Jack Forestell, Visa’s chief product and strategy officer, expressed enthusiasm about the acquisition, stating, “Through the acquisition of Pismo, Visa can better serve our financial institution and fintech clients with more differentiated issuer solutions they can offer their customers.” The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of the year, pending regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. Notably, Pismo’s current management team will remain intact and continue to operate from their São Paulo headquarters.
Pismo’s journey to this groundbreaking deal has been marked by remarkable growth. At the beginning of 2021, the company’s transaction volume stood at less than $1 billion per month, but it surged to nearly $40 billion in annual transaction volumes. With almost 80 million accounts and over 40 million issued cards, Pismo has cemented its position as a key player in the payments infrastructure space.
The acquisition garnered interest from multiple companies, with Visa emerging as the winning bidder. Ethan Choi, partner at venture firm Accel, which co-led Pismo’s Series B funding, emphasized the strategic significance of the deal and its potential synergies, asserting that Visa’s decision to provide core banking and card issuing services highlights the company’s commitment to working closely with banks and financial institutions.
Visa’s move to acquire Pismo echoes its previous infrastructure plays, such as the $2.15 billion acquisition of European fintech startup Tink, focused on open banking APIs. However, it is worth mentioning that Visa’s planned $5.3 billion acquisition of U.S.-based Plaid, an open banking startup, was abandoned due to regulatory hurdles.
The acquisition of Pismo by Visa not only serves as a major triumph for the Latin America region, which has experienced a surge in global investor interest, but it also signifies a remarkable turnaround for Pismo itself. In 2019, the startup faced financial hardship, having nearly depleted the cash it had raised in its initial seed round. Co-founders Binatti and Parise even resorted to selling their only car to sustain the company’s operations. Now, with the backing of Visa, Pismo’s workforce of over 400 employees will join the Visa team, further strengthening the company’s presence and capabilities.
This acquisition also highlights Accel’s knack for investing in financial infrastructure companies that subsequently attract significant attention and acquisition offers. In 2020, consumer financial services platform SoFi acquired payments and bank account infrastructure company Galileo for $1.2 billion, shortly after Accel injected $77 million in Series A funding into the company.
Visa’s acquisition of Pismo represents a pivotal moment in the fintech landscape, setting the stage for continued innovation and expansion in the payments and banking sectors. As the deal progresses, industry observers eagerly anticipate the impact of this strategic move and its implications for the future of banking and payments on a global scale.
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Access Bank Acquires Standard Chartered’s African Subsidiaries, Expanding its Global Footprint
The subsidiaries to be acquired by Access Bank include those in Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, and Sierra Leone, along with Standard Chartered’s consumer, private, and business banking business in Tanzania.
Access Bank, a leading Nigerian financial institution, has reached an agreement to acquire Standard Chartered’s subsidiaries in five sub-Saharan African countries.
This strategic deal marks the success of Standard Chartered’s divestment plan announced last year, which aimed to streamline its operations and focus on faster-growing markets in the region.
The subsidiaries to be acquired by Access Bank include those in Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, and Sierra Leone, along with Standard Chartered’s consumer, private, and business banking business in Tanzania. As part of the agreement, Access Bank will assume responsibility for providing uninterrupted banking services to the employees and clients of Standard Chartered’s businesses in these countries.
Standard Chartered’s decision to divest its African subsidiaries aligns with its global strategy, which seeks to enhance operational efficiencies, reduce complexity, and drive scale. By redirecting resources within the Africa and Middle East (AME) region, Standard Chartered aims to capitalize on other areas with substantial growth potential.
The deal signifies a major step forward for Access Bank, solidifying its position as a leading player in the African banking landscape. With recent expansions in Europe and an extensive presence in key trading corridors across Africa, Access Bank is poised to build a robust global franchise.
The acquisition will enable Access Bank to serve as a gateway for payments, investment, and trade within Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world.
The value of the transaction remains undisclosed, and the completion of the deal is expected within the next year, pending regulatory approvals in the respective countries, as well as in Nigeria.
Sunil Kaushal, Standard Chartered’s regional CEO for AME, expressed confidence in the strategic decision, emphasizing the opportunity it provides to reallocate resources to high-growth areas within the region. This move allows Standard Chartered to optimize its operations and further strengthen its position in markets poised for expansion.
Roosevelt Ogbonna, Access Group Managing Director, commented on the acquisition, highlighting the bank’s commitment to bridging the gap between cross-border and domestic transfers across all business segments. With a focus on facilitating seamless transactions and enhancing connectivity, Access Bank aims to foster increased trade and investment within Africa and beyond.
IBM Poised to Expand Software Empire with $5 Billion Apptio Acquisition
Technology titan IBM is on the verge of acquiring Apptio, a prominent software company, in a deal worth approximately $5 billion, sources close to the matter have revealed to the Wall Street Journal.
The imminent agreement, which may be finalized over the weekend, marks another milestone in IBM’s strategic expansion into the software industry.
It remains unclear whether the purchase price encompasses any outstanding debt.
IBM, known for its pioneering advancements in the tech sector, has remained tight-lipped about the reported acquisition.
Apptio, previously taken private by Vista Equity Partners in 2018 for $1.94 billion, specializes in cutting-edge cloud-based and hybrid business management software. This coveted expertise could prove to be a valuable asset for IBM as it continues its quest for software supremacy.
Investors King believes that this proposed deal follows IBM’s recent forays into the software market, including the 2021 acquisition of software provider Turbonomic for a staggering $1.5 billion and its momentous 2019 purchase of software enterprise Red Hat for an eye-watering $34 billion.
With these notable acquisitions in its arsenal, IBM aims to solidify its position as a dominant force in the software industry.
The company’s strategic moves suggest a concerted effort to diversify its offerings and tap into emerging technologies, positioning itself as a leading player in the ever-evolving tech landscape.
As industry observers eagerly await official confirmation, the potential IBM-Apptio collaboration promises to reshape the software industry and accelerate innovation in cloud-based and hybrid business management solutions.
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