Icici Bank sells majority card services stake to First Data; forms JV

Source: First Data

ICICI Bank, India's largest private sector bank, and First Data, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services, have formed a merchant acquiring alliance named ICICI Merchant Services, which has acquired ICICI Bank's merchant acquiring portfolio. The transaction was completed on December 22, 2009. The venture brings together one of India's largest merchant portfolios, representing approximately 30 percent of the current Indian acquiring market, and a leading acquirer and payment services provider with global expertise.

ICICI Merchant Services, which is owned 81 percent by First Data and 19 percent by ICICI Bank, will build on the bank's existing acquiring portfolio of approximately 150,000 merchants. Over time, ICICI Merchant Services expects to deliver an enhanced suite of card acquiring services to these and to new merchants. ICICI Bank will continue to act as a settlement banker for the merchants.

ICICI Bank is India's second largest bank with more than 1,500 branches across the country. First Data, a KKR-portfolio company, provides payment processing services for 5.3 million merchant locations globally and serves customers in 36 countries around the world. First Data's services include offering merchants the ability to view their payment transactions securely via the Internet while benefiting from loyalty, prepaid and market-leading, e-commerce solutions based on advanced processing technologies.

"We continue to work towards optimising and improving the efficiencies of our business, to meet customer needs effectively and increase service quality," said Sandeep Bakhshi, deputy managing director of ICICI Bank. "By partnering with a leading global player like First Data, we are able to expand our service offering to our merchant customers."

"India is a strategic market for First Data," said David Yates, president of First Data's international business. "This new alliance gives us the scale and presence that we can build from, with a highly regarded partner. We hope our alliance will make a positive contribution to the Indian economy, partnering with ICICI Bank to provide specialised, world-class merchant acquiring services to the market."

Both ICICI Bank and First Data will be represented on the board of directors of ICICI Merchant Services. Day-to-day operations will be coordinated by First Data.

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