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EU approves Mastercard takeover of Nets’ units, subject to concessions

The European Commission has approved the €2.85 billion take-over by Mastercard of key business units of Nets, subject to the transfer of a licence for the Nordic payment processor’s account-to-account core infrastructure services to a rival brand.

The concession on the sale was offered by Mastercard after the EU voiced concerns over anti-trust issues in the A2A CIS market, in which both companies compete.

To seal the deal, Mastercard and Nets offered to transfer a global license to a rival player to distribute, supply, sell, develop, modify, upgrade or otherwise use Nets’ Realtime 24/7 technology. In particular, the purchaser will have access to the licensed technology on an exclusive basis in the EEA and, on a non-exclusive basis, outside of the EEA.

The transfer also includes all necessary personnel and services, such as consultancy services and transitional support services, including access to all necessary components and capabilities to provide managed services based on Nets’ Realtime 24/7 technology.

Executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy, comments: “Companies and citizens seek competitive and innovative payment solutions for their banking transactions. This merger, as originally notified, would have significantly reduced competition in the market for account-to-account core infrastructure services and undermined the development of new real-time payment solutions, which are becoming increasingly important. Today’s decision ensures that effective competition is preserved and facilitates the emergence of a new provider of real-time payment infrastructure services in the European Economic Area.”