Visa, a global payment firm is reportedly planning to invest US$200 million in Interswitch, a Nigerian-based payment firm.
According to Sky News, Visa and Interswitch are in advanced talks about a transaction that could see Visa acquiring a 20% stake in Interswitch. The deal will ultimately usher Interswitch into unicorn status as ahead of a potential London IPO next year.
Mid this year, the company was reportedly gearing up for a possible IPO as it hired JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Standard Bank Group Ltd as advisors; and this was after the company suspended its planned US$1 billion IPO in 2016 which was attributed to potential weakness in Naira and shortage of foreign currency.
According to Sky News, Interswitch is both profitable and generating substantial levels of cash.
Founded in 2001 by Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch provides integrated digital payments solutions across Africa. The company uses a ‘switching’ infrastructure to connect different banks in Nigeria and provides technology for ATM cards. The company has over 11,000 ATMs on its network.
In 2010, private equity firm Helios Investment Partners bought more than 60 per cent stake of the company.