Nexi said its acquisition of smaller rival SIA to create an Italian payments champion will be completed after Italy’s antitrust authority gave a conditional green light to the deal. The competition watchdog gave the approval. Last month, they said that it had opened an investigation into the merger. This is due to antitrust concerns in Italy’s digital payments industry.
Nexi, which merged with Nordic rival Nets, expects to finalise the merger this quarter. This is by creating one of Europe’s largest payments groups. It said that it would implement the measures demanded by the authority to clear the deal within the required timeframe. Nexi added that today’s authorisation is a further step towards the closing of the transaction. This will be completed as soon as practicable.
Nexi, which was acquired by private equity funds from a group of Italian banks and then listed in 2019, were up 0.86%. Jefferies calculated the limited concessions Nexi would need to adopt to meet the antitrust authority’s conditions. The watchdog has asked Nexi to waive an exclusivity clause in contracts with payments processor equensWorldline. This is for domestic processing and clearing services outside the single euro payments area (SEPA) and to sell non-SEPA clearing contracts it currently has with banks.
Jefferies analyst Paul Kratz said in a note that the proposed remedies reflect what is likely a best-case scenario for the merger. The measures were unlikely to change the status quo in the Italian market. Much of the dominant market position created by the merger were preserved. The measures imposed were aimed at avoiding discrimination. It grants efficiency to any potential new players in the sector. It also added that the merger could strengthen or create a dominant position in some specific sectors, like domestic card processing and clearing services.