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Network International to acquire DPO Group

By , Portals editor
Africa , 29 Jul 2020
Eran Feinstein, CEO of DPO Group.
Eran Feinstein, CEO of DPO Group.

Kenya-based pan-African payment service provider DPO Group has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Network International, a leading enabler of digital commerce across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

In what is touted as a landmark deal for the African payments space, Network International will be acquiring 100% of DPO Group, which will continue to operate under the same brand.

Headquartered in Dubai and listed on the London Stock Exchange, Network International is a leading pan-regional provider of digital payment solutions, with presence across the entire payments value chain, delivering integrated omni-channel payments services to its customers.

According to a statement released to the media, the acquisition of DPO Group will support Network International’s capabilities in Africa across online, mobile and alternative payments as well as providing merchant and MNO relationships and increasing the cross-selling opportunities to both DPO and Network International’s customers.

DPO Group has recorded revenue CAGR of c.40% from 2017-2019.

The companies say the transaction enables DPO to add point of sale payment solutions to its product portfolio, connecting DPO to acquirers and issuers across the African continent and enabling DPO to penetrate the Middle East market for the first time.

Eran Feinstein, CEO of DPO Group commented: “This deal represents a significant milestone for the pan-African payments landscape and the customers and businesses we serve. Combining the two companies will allow us to broaden our offering for new and existing customers, significantly improving capacity for Africa’s merchants to do business not only across the continent but in the Middle East as well as globally.”

Simon Haslam, Network International’s Chief Executive Officer said: “We are excited by this acquisition which will strengthen our strategic framework by combining both of our businesses’ activities across the African market. This deal will also enhance our offering in the payments value chain by presence on both sides of the transaction, acquiring and issuing, and accelerate our future growth. Together, we have a powerful combination to accelerate digital payments across our regions and offer a one-stop shop solution for merchants, with multiple payment acceptance methods.”

Offer Gat, DPO Group Co-Founder and Chairman added: “We are delighted to have worked with Apis Partners in growing DPO Group into one of the leading pan-African payments companies. We have found Apis’ financial services sector expertise invaluable as we scaled DPO from a regional player to a truly pan-African platform present in 19 countries and serving both blue chip and local merchants. Apis supported DPO throughout as we made five major acquisitions in four years, entered new markets, and launched innovative new products across the continent. We are looking forward to working with our new shareholder, Network International, to achieve similar success over the coming years.”

Matteo Stefanel, Managing Partner and Apis Co-Founder said: “Eran and Offer are outstanding and visionary entrepreneurs who have built DPO into a truly world class business in a very short period of time. They exemplify the type of dynamic management teams Apis looks to invest in, and we are very proud to have worked with them and to have been part of the DPO journey. As they embark on the next phase of their journey as part of Network International, I am confident that Eran, Offer and the rest of the DPO team will continue leading the way in the African payments sector.”

Udayan Goyal, Managing Partner and Apis Co-Founder said: “Africa represents one of the fastest growing and most under-penetrated markets for online payments in the world. Our investment in DPO Group was recognition of this fact and the company’s subsequent rapid growth and ultimate acquisition by Network International speaks to the enormous opportunity within payments across Africa. We believe the combination of DPO Group with Network International will create tremendous value for both businesses as they continue to deliver world-class solutions across African markets.”

According to the companies, the DPO Group will retain its executive team and employees, as it continues to expand and will drive the payments agenda of the larger group within Africa and the Middle East.

The acquisition will also see DPO Group’s shareholders and executives become key stakeholders in Network International.

Morgan Stanley acted as the financial advisor to DPO and ENS Africa acted as the legal advisor. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory and anti-trust.

PayFast acquisition

It was almost a year ago when the DPO Group made headlines after acquiring South African payment processor PayFast.

The companies would not divulge the value of the deal, but described it as "the biggest deal of its kind in Africa, to date", eclipsing its R100-million acquisition of PayGate in 2016.

Management said in total it has deployed US$25-million in facilitating the growth of DPO and this would be one component of that.

"PayFast is a natural fit for DPO Group and this deal strategically follows our acquisitions of PayGate, VCS, Paythru and SiD since 2016," said Gat at the time.

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