Ant Group plans to buy Dutch payments startup MultiSafepay in a deal valued at $200 million

Ant Group is close to sealing a deal to acquire MultiSafepay, a Dutch payments company, for about $200 million, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The move is part of their ongoing drive into Western payment markets, as per Reuters and their insider sources.

The acquisition is significant in Ant Group’s expansion strategy, particularly in the Western payments sector. Pending regulatory green lights, the deal is anticipated to value MultiSafepay at roughly $200 million. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that MultiSafepay currently generates $50 million in revenue.

Ant Group’s previous acquisitions, such as Singapore-based 2C2P in 2022 and British firm WorldFirst in 2019, signal a consistent effort to bolster their presence in the payments realm, Reuters reported.

MultiSafepay, established in 1999, specializes in payment acquiring and processing services, supporting over 30 local and international payment methods. It functions as an acquirer and processor for major cards, as detailed on its company website.

The news of the acquisition follows a challenging year for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in 2023, with total volumes decreasing by 18% to approximately $3 trillion—the lowest figure since 2013.

Despite the sluggish trend in M&A activities, some industry insiders, like Paul J. Taubman, founder and CEO of PJT Partners, remain cautiously optimistic. Michele Cousins, head of leveraged capital markets for the Americas at UBS, highlighted a growing eagerness among clients and a revived interest in initiating processes, signaling a positive shift after the challenging period.

“We were surprised by how difficult it was to bring deals forward in 2023. I think there will be an M&A rebound, but how much of it actually appears in 2024 and how much of it is a setup to 2025 remains to be seen,” Paul J. Taubman, founder and CEO of investment bank PJT Partners, told Reuters in December.

At a recent press briefing, Cousins said: “Clients are more actively calling, and people are picking up pencils on processes that are ready to kick off. With the recent strength in markets and reduced volatility, people are feeling more comfortable.”

In the past year, Alipay introduced an “International Version” of its app tailored for overseas travelers to China, offering integrated mobile payment services along with travel-related functionalities like hotel and airfare bookings and ride-hailing.

Moreover, Ant Group expanded accessibility for overseas users by enabling linking Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, and Discover cards to their mobile wallets. Additionally, Alipay collaborated with payment service provider Citcon to facilitate international e-wallet payments for U.S. retail merchants, aiming to enhance convenience and security for international visitors making payments via their home e-wallets.

Ant Group is a subsidiary of Alibaba Group, a company founded by Jack Ma. The company was founded as Alipay in 2004. Over the years, Ant Group has evolved into a major player in the global fintech landscape, gaining significant influence and prominence.