Nets, Scandinavia, the household name in payments processing has agreed on March 24th, 2014, its sale to a consortium of Private Equity players; Advent International, ATP and Bain Capital. Advent and Bain Capital already owning Worldpay, the Merchant Services business bought from RBS in 2010. ATP being a Danish Pension Fund.
Nets over recent years had adopted aggressive challenges and organisational changes. It always was under majority rule by the dominant local Banks and this never changed until now. In short:
2010: Nets was created through a merger of PBS (Denmark) and BBS (Norway). A long journey of consolidation across cultures, technologies and businesses ensued. The logic of the merger apparently that each Scandinavian country was too small alone to survive against (Northern) Europe competition, but together it could not only survive but potentially expand and acquire south. Of course the realities are very complex starting with diverse and fragmented standards across the region.
2012: Luottokunta (Finland) was purchased for 170m Euro adding Finland finally to the Nets portfolio.
Only Sweden remained as a key country for Nets to gain mass dominance and presence; alas it has been elusive for several years.
During the 4 years of Nets change (2010-2014), competitors stated this gave them an advantage to accelerate away, but little evidence has come forward of this being a reality.
Now, the hard commercial realities are likely to be driven fast and focused by the new owners, who operate on a world stage rather than local Scandinavian. This is a fresh opportunity for all concerned. Scandinavia is an excellent early adopter marketplace where the people love new technology, new business models and this should prove to be highly valuable to the owners looking to find the next generation payments offering secrets to roll out internationally, at least including Worldpay’s territory of Europe and US. It will be interesting to see where the previous owner banks end up in this picture given they have finally let their payments baby go out into the big world.
Nets Official Press Release: Nets+sales+Press+Release_UK_FINAL