Mastercard has opened up a turf war with rival scheme Visa over the acquisition of cross-border payment firm Earthport, posting a £233 million cash offer for the UK firm.
Visa made a surprise £198 million bid for Earthport over the festive season, an offer which was recommended by the company's Board and put to shareholders.
Mastercard's rival bid comes at a ten percent premium to Visa's valuation, moving Earthport to withdraw its recommendation of the Visa Offer. With a better offer on the table, the company is now proposing to adjourn the Earthport Shareholder meetings convened for 21 February 2019 to consider the Visa Offer.
Commenting, Sunil Sabharwal, interim chairman of Earthport, says: "The Board of Earthport is pleased to recommend Bidco's cash offer for Earthport which is at a 10 per cent. premium to the Visa proposal. This offer provides our shareholders with even greater value in cash for their shares."
Earthport provides cross-border payment services to banks and businesses but had a difficult 2018 that included the loss of a major payment customer, reduced transaction volumes and a management shakeup.
Revenues in the year to June were £31.9 million with operating losses of £8.4 million.
Visa has yet to respond, but Earthport shares jumped by 34% to 34.5 pence, factoring in the potential for a higher bid.