Mastercard has confirmed plans to make a cornerstone $300 million investment in Middle Eastern payments processor Network International, which last week announced its intention to list on the London Stock Exchenge.
Fifty-one percent owned by Emirates NBD, Network International was spun off as a separate company in 2015 in a deal which saw Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic pick up the remaining 49% minority ownership.
The company operates in over 50 countries across the Middle East and Africa, processing digital payments for merchants through desktop PCs and smartphones.
The investment by Mastercard will give the card scheme a 9.99 percent stake in the company, making it the fourth biggest shareholder in the business,conditional on the offering of 25% of its shares on London's main market.
Under the partnership, Network International and Mastercard intend to establish shared development projects and cross-referral arrangements for products and services to financial institutions and merchants in a region billed by Network International's recently installed chairman Ron Kalifa as "the world’s most underpenetrated payments market".
Simon Haslam, CEO of Network International says: "Today’s announcement will see both parties working on joint development projects and cross-referral arrangements to drive card penetration, usage and acceptance in the MEA region. In addition, it will also enable us to develop and offer new value-added solutions for our clients, through our scalable and secure pan-regional technology platforms.”