Interswitch concludes acquisition of fintech company, Vanso

29 Sep 2016
Financial Nigeria


Interswitch said the acquisition of Vanso is the latest in a series of strategic integrations designed to improve its product and service offerings.

Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director and CEO, Interswitch

Interswitch Limited, an Africa-focused integrated digital payments and commerce company, said on Thursday it has completed a 100 per cent acquisition of Value Added Network Solutions Limited (Vanso), a financial technology provider. In a statement released today, Interswitch said the acquisition of Vanso is the latest in a series of strategic integrations designed to improve its product and service offerings, extending its reach into new markets as the African fintech sector expands.

Founded in 2005, Vanso provides highly-secure messaging, payments and banking solutions to a range of telecommunications and financial services clients in Nigeria, and a number of African markets. Interswitch said the transaction has received all relevant regulatory and shareholder approvals, including the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The deal, which was first announced in February, is reportedly worth N15 billion.

“The acquisition of Vanso, both a market leader in the mobile financial services industry and a strong and profitable business, is a great opportunity to combine our respective technology offerings and skill sets, driving growth in our business,” Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director and CEO of Interswitch, said. “By integrating operations, we not only secure access to new payment channels, but a highly skilled leadership team as well, while VANSO now has access to new markets, a mutually beneficial step for both our companies.”

Interswitch said the current management team of Vanso will be absorbed into the Interswitch management organisation. Vanso’s CEO, Denis O’Brien, will lead the Interswitch mobile payment’s business unit with a mandate to drive aggressive organic and geographic growth.

“In Interswitch, we have found a partner with ambitions aligned to our own, and the institutional backing and scale to rapidly accelerate their attainment,” Vanso’s CEO said. “I would like to thank our Board, executive management team and all our staff, who have worked tirelessly over the last 18 months to identify the most appropriate growth option for us. We look forward to working with the Interswitch management and board over the coming years to deepen and broaden financial services across the continent.”

Interswitch acquired Paynet Group of Kenya in September 2014, in a deal that resulted in the creation of a combined network of over 150 financial institutions, deepening Interswitch’s footprint in East Africa. Paynet Group rebranded to Interswitch East Africa in October 2015. The acquisition of Vanso will enhance the Interswitch mobile financial services offering, bringing fast growing segments like virtual airtime top-up, bills payments, remittance and transfers, banking and e-commerce in-house, with rapid geographic expansion opportunities and across multiple delivery mechanisms including USSD, SIM toolkits and advanced mobile applications.  

“The mobile banking sector in particular is experiencing rapid growth, with the number of mobile banking customers projected to rise exponentially across the continent within the next 3-5 years. Alongside Vanso, Interswitch is even more strategically placed to capitalise on growth in the payment solutions industry and to continue delivering innovative solutions for Africa,” Mr. Elegbe added.

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