ATOS Wordline which is the leading European company that offers services for payment is all set to buy Venture Infotek in a deal worth 100 million dollars. In the payment services industry, this is going to be one of the largest exceeding the acquisition by KKR of the merchant acquisition business of ICICI Bank. Last year, First data Corporation owned by KKR had bought ICICI`s credit card swipe machines` network and the backend processing division for 90 million dollars. To enable this, the 1.5 lakh swipe machines had been grouped off as a separate company by ICICI called ICICI merchant services, 80% of whose shares were then sold to KKR.
Meanwhile Kubera Partners which is promoted by Ramanan Raghavendra had acquired a 40% share in Venture Infotek following the buyout of Warburg Pincus, a private equity investor. Now, Kubera is also selling out to Atos which has a few investment banker consultants. Venture Infotek is consulting with Avendus. Piyush and Dhruv Khaitan are the promoters of Venture Infotek and had started marketing plastic for cards and swipe machines to the banks that issue cards. In the 90s, they also collaborated with US company Equifax to provide complete back office solutions to a card issuing bank.
The promoters through investment by a few equity funds had bought out Equifax. But currently they are planning to exit given the demand for excess capital in the coming years. Atos Worldline, which generates E844million in annual revenues, is in the electronic payment services including all the credit card transactions. It has over 4800 employees currently. Venture Infotek, in the same line as ICICI Merchant services also includes payment related business. Many credit card issuing banks and banks which have point of sale terminals with merchants use the solutions for end to end processing of payments provided by the company.
There is however a key difference between both the companies. A majority of the swipe machines managed by Venture Infotek are actually owned by the Axis Bank. Unlike ICICI Merchant Services, Venture Infotek does not own the terminals for point of sales used by many merchants. A substantial part of Venture Infotek`s revenue also comes from managing the petro credit cards offered by many Indian state owned oil companies.
As many as 150 million card transactions which are worth 35,000 crore rupees are processed by the company. The company is also an outsourcing destination for a host of banks.