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Payments companies Ingenico and Wordline yesterday announced plans for an $8.6 billion merger.
Worldline is a financial services company whose products span the whole industry; Ingenico creates point-of-sale terminals that account for 37% of the global market. The companies expect the deal to close in the third quarter of this year. Gilles Grapinet, Worldline’s Chairman and CEO, will lead the consolidated business, which will employ 20,000 people across 50 countries.
The share prices of Ingenico, founded in 1980, and Worldline, founded in 1973, have generally gone up in recent years. Yet new fintech entrants, like Stripe and Adyen, as well as tech-fin products, like Google Pay and Apple pay, have threatened the relevance of old giants like Ingenico and Worldline: themselves the ‘disruptors’ of their time.
Indeed, this could be why the two companies are merging. “Many payments companies have carved out specialised roles—and are now seeking survival through consolidation,” wrote The Economist today.
New fintech businesses are not the only threats to established financial services. The growing form of Decentralized Finance (DeFi), where individuals are able to access financial services without the involvement of a bank or third party, might make things even harder for such businesses.
Last week, the total number of ETH locked up in DeFi applications reached an all-time high, $798 milion. Back in November, it was just $439 million. While this is still a drop in the bucket for the financial services industry, DeFi’s explosive rate of growth might soon make it a contender.