Mergers: Commission approves Worldline’s acquisition of Ingenico, subject to conditions

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Ingenico by Worldline, both active in the payment services sector. The approval is conditional on full compliance with a commitments package offered by the parties.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Payment services underpin all card payments that European consumers use on a daily basis. This merger would have reduced competition in the services facilitating in-store card payments in Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg. The remedy package offered by the companies will preserve competition in these markets and thus ensure these services continue to be offered at competitive prices.”

The Commission’s investigation

The Commission’s investigation focused on Worldline and Ingenico’s activities in the payment services sector, in which their activities overlap horizontally and create vertical links in a number of countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). The investigation revealed competition concerns on the markets for the provision of point-of-sale (“POS”) merchant acquiring services and POS terminal provision and management services in three countries.

  • POS merchant acquiring refers to a set of services that enable merchants to accept card payments using POS terminals. Merchant acquirers sign contracts with merchants, facilitate the payment relationship between the merchant and the end-customer and ensure that merchants receive the funds following the card payment transactions.
  • POS provision and management refers to the supply of POS terminals to merchants together with maintenance, repair and other services. POS terminals are the card readers used to effect payment transactions.

The Commission found that the combination of Worldline and Ingenico’s merchant acquiring businesses would raise competition concerns in Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria. Worldline is already the largest player in each of these Member States. The Commission’s investigation revealed that Ingenico is an important competitor while a limited number of credible competitors would remain in these markets following the transaction. Similarly, Ingenico represents an important alternative to Worldline, the leader in POS provision and management in Austria and Belgium.

The Commission was therefore concerned that the transaction would create or strengthen a dominant position in these markets and so would harm competition and lead to higher prices and less choice.

The proposed remedies

To address the Commission’s competition concerns, the companies offered to divest certain businesses active in POS merchant acquiring and POS terminal provision and management. Notably, the divestment consists of

  • Ingenico’s Austrian POS merchant acquiring and POS provision and management business;
  • Ingenico’s Belgian POS merchant acquiring business that includes the provision and management of POS terminals; and
  • a part of Worldline’s merchant acquiring business in Luxembourg.

The package also includes, for each of Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg, the support services necessary to operate the businesses.

These commitments fully address the Commission’s concerns as they almost entirely remove the overlap between Worldline and Ingenico’s activities in merchant acquiring in all of the three countries concerned, as well as between their activities in POS provision and management in Austria and Belgium. The commitments therefore ensure that the current level of competition in the market is maintained and that customers continue to enjoy the same level of choice as today.

The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, no longer raises competition concerns. The decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments.

Companies and products

Worldline S.A., headquartered in France, is active in the payment and transactional services industry. It is present throughout the EEA and in emerging markets such as India, China and certain countries in Asia and Latin America.

Ingenico Group S.A., headquartered in France, is mainly engaged in the design and supply of POS terminals (hardware and related software) and also provides payment-related services such as merchant acquiring services as well as other services for in-store and online payments. It is active worldwide with operations in 170 countries.

Merger control rules and procedures

The transaction was notified on 12 August 2020.

The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) or that have been referred to it (see Article 4(5) of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.

The vast majority of notified mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II). This deadline is extended to 35 working days in cases where remedies are submitted by the parties, such as in this case.

More information will be available on the competition website, in the Commission’s public case register under the case number M.9776.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

This man is turning cities into giant sponges to save lives

This credit card has a carbon-emission spending limit

10th ASEM in Milan and the importance of being one: EU’s big challenge on the way to China

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

Carnage must stop in northwest Syria demands Lowcock, as attacks intensify

This app uses augmented reality to rewrite ‘herstory’

Is euro to repeat its past highs with the dollar?

Electronic Cigarettes: Are they really as safe as we think?

Poor Greeks, Irish and Spaniards still pay for the faults of German and French banks

Ensuring the ‘lungs of the planet’ keep us alive: 5 things you need to know about forests and the UN

Darfur: Inter-communal tensions still high despite improved security, Mission head tells Security Council

Parliament: No consent to EU budget until €11.2 billion unpaid bills are settled

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

The 27 EU leaders did nothing to help May unlock the Brexit talks

Why youth unemployment is so difficult to counter

‘Signs of hope’ toward a political settlement in Yemen, UN special envoy tells Security Council

Indian cities are running out of water

From drought to floods in Somalia; displacement and hunger worsen, says UN

Five things everybody needs to know about the future of Journalism

Dieselgate: Parliament calls for mandatory retrofits of polluting cars

Is the advent of nationalism to destroy economic neo-liberalism?

Online marketplaces can help close Africa’s skills gap

New European frontiers for renewable energy development

UN rights chief ‘extremely concerned’ over deadly crackdown on protesters in Iran

Trust in OECD governments back at pre-crisis levels as governments seek to be more open and engaged

Under fire, UN refugee agency evacuates 135 detained in Libya to Niger

How microfinance develops decent work

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile World Congress shows off planes, trams and automobiles

How smart tech helps cities fight terrorism and crime

Nagasaki is ‘a global inspiration’ for peace, UN chief says marking 73rd anniversary of atomic bombing

5 ways cities can use emerging technologies to fight climate change

How blockchain can cut the cost of new medicine

MWC 2016 LIVE: 5G to trigger disruption, claim industry leaders

Ramp up nuclear power to beat climate change, says UN nuclear chief

Safer roads: More life-saving technology to be mandatory in vehicles

A call for a new crop of innovators

COVID-19: research package welcomed, EU needs to be better equipped in future

We should treat data as a natural resource. Here’s why

Bank resolutions set to remain a national affair

This Pacific island has banned fishing to allow the marine ecosystem to recover

VW emissions scandal: EU unable to protect its consumers against large multinationals

Thursday’s Daily Brief: STIs worldwide, food safety and food prices, updates on Iraq and East Africa

Here’s how the global financial crisis is still affecting your wages

5 facts to know about Africa’s powerhouse – Nigeria

A Sting Exclusive: “Delivering on the Environmental Dimension of the new Sustainable Development Agenda”, Ulf Björnholm underscores from UNEP Brussels

5 ways to get your business ready for AI in 2020

Visiting North Korea, UN relief chief spotlights funding shortfall to meet humanitarian needs

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

Mental health in times of pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

Frans Timmermans on the European Green Deal as a growth strategy at the Bruegel Annual Meetings

Coronavirus – here’s the public health advice on how to protect yourself

Syria: UN chief warns Idlib offensive may set off ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

The ethics of the Medical Technology Civilisation era

6 innovative technologies about to transform our infrastructure

“A divided Europe is not in China’s interests”, Ambassador Zhang of the Chinese Mission to EU welcomes Brussels

A ‘charismatic leader’ dedicated to making the world a better place for all: officials bid farewell to former UN chief Kofi Annan

The ECB proposes a swift solution for SMEs’ financing

Tackling Youth Unemployment

European Commission statement on the adoption of the new energy lending policy of the European Investment Bank Group

EU and Overseas Countries and Territories boost cooperation at annual Forum with €44 million

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s