Visa outbids Mastercard with increased offer for Earthport

Card company Visa announced this morning that it has raised its offer for UK payments processor Earthport to 37p per share, valuing the business at £247 million.

A bidding war is now well and truly under way with Mastercard, which usurped Visa’s original £200 million December offer with its own £233 million bid for the group in January.

Shares in Earthport jumped by almost 9% to 42p after the news this morning, while Mastercard was prompted to issue a short statement saying: “Mastercard is considering its options and urges Earthport shareholders to take no action in response to the announcement by Visa.”

Another statement from Mastercard is expected in due course.

Visa’s attempt to acquire Earthport is being made via Visa International Service Association, a unit of Visa Inc known as Bidco.

Earthport provides its clients with access to a global payment network, maintaining local banking partnerships, through which client business is settled directly via local clearing to banked beneficiaries in over 87 countries.

It has over 200 employees and is headquartered in London, with regional offices in New York, Miami, Dubai and Singapore. In July last year it appointed Amanda Mesler, a Microsoft general manager responsible for the software firm’s enterprise business in Central and Eastern Europe, as its new CEO.

Commenting on today’s increased Visa offer, Sunil Sabharwal, interim chairman of Earthport, said: “The board of Earthport is pleased to recommend Bidco's cash offer for Earthport which is at a 12% premium to the Mastercard proposal.

“This revised cash offer provides our shareholders with even greater value in cash for their shares."