EU Probes Mastercard’s Scandinavian e-Pay Deal

EU antitrust regulators on Monday, April 6, stated Mastercard’s plan to buy part of Scandinavian payments group Nets is a significant threat to competition in Europe based on information from six countries, including Britain. 

The US payments group disagreed with the EU’s assessment and stated it hoped to finalize the deal by the end of the second quarter. 

Mastercard announced plans in August last year to buy three divisions of European rival Nets, covering corporate clearing, instant payments, and e-billing. 

The bid for Scandinavia’s largest payments processor is part of a wave of consolidation in the sector as credit card companies and banks look to capitalize on a growing market triggered by the switch from cash to mobile payments. 

The European Commission, which acts as the EU’s antitrust enforcer, stated it had accepted a request from Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Britain to take over the case. 

Based on the information provided by the six national competition agencies, it said the deal “threatens to significantly affect competition” in the Nordic area, the European Economic Area and in Britain. 

MasterCard will now have to gain EU approval for the transaction, the Commission said in a statement. 

Mastercard stated it disagreed with the assessment that the deal could have an adverse impact in the United Kingdom or any EU country. 

“We have been working with the European Commission in order to expedite this process,” Mastercard said in a statement.

Full Content: Reuters

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