Danske Bank’s MobilePay service, Finnish OP Financial Group’s Pivo system and the Vipps payment service provided by a consortium of Norwegian banks are merging into a single entity to take on global competition
Even before the pandemic forced us all to spend more time at home, e-commerce was already growing rapidly, with an ever-increasing amount of money being transferred via mobile.
Now, arguing that they need a boost in scale to handle demand and compete on an international level, three mobile payment applications from Denmark, Norway and Finland have joined forces to merge their platforms.
Danske Bank’s MobilePay, Finnish OP Financial Group’s Pivo, and the Vipps payment service, co-owned by numerous Norwegian banks, will be joined to form a single entity, with Rune Garborg, the CEO of Vipps as the head of the new business.
Vipps will own 65% of the newly merged entity, while Danske Bank will own 25% and OP Financial Group will own 10%. Vipps majority ownership was explained as being due to ‘the banks behind Vipps covering almost the entire Norwegian banking sector’.
“By bringing a number of well-known brands into the ownership of a joint company, we will be strongly positioned in the market and ensure that we have the necessary scale to continue rapid growth,” explained Claus Bunkenborg, CEO of MobilePay, noting that the trio were open to the participation of other leading banks and payment platforms.
“At the same time, we want to convey the message to other leading banks and platforms that we are open for dialogue. It is especially important for us that MobilePay’s close cooperation with the other Danish banks can continue. The potential participation of other banks may further underpin the ambition to create a strong European player in the payment area,” he continued.
The newly combined entity will create a digital wallet serving around 11 million users and 330,000 physical and online shops. As one of the largest mobile payment platforms in Europe, the new business will reportedly focus on combining the best elements from the three existing platforms and investing heavily in e-commerce.
The merger will engender a one-off gain for Danske Bank of approximately DKK 400-500 million ($64–$80 million), with no other money changing hands.
Naturally, the merger requires regulatory approval and is expected to close in the second half of 2021 at the earliest.
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