TA Associates Acquires a Minority Stake in Nigeria’s Interswitch

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TA Associates, a global growth private equity firm, has acquired a minority equity interest in Interswitch, an Africa-focused integrated digital payments and commerce company.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Helios Investment Partners will remain the majority shareholder of Interswitch.

“By strategically partnering and aligning its interests with key banks, merchants and other institutions, Interswitch has become a leading provider for payments solutions in an emerging and rapidly growing market in Nigeria,” said Naveen Wadhera, a Managing Director at TA Associates who will join the Interswitch Board of Directors.

Founded in 2002, Interswitch is active across the entire payments value chain.  The firm owns and operates the country’s principal domestic debit card scheme, Verve, as well as serves as a third-party transaction processor for many of Nigeria’s largest banks.

It also offers a number of B2B electronic payment services to public and private sector organizations and businesses, including government entities, hospitals, telecommunications companies and utilities, and also operates Quickteller, the leading B2C bill payments and digital commerce platform in Nigeria.

Through add-on acquisitions, Interswitch also operates in Kenya and Uganda.

According to Mitchell Elegbe, Founder and Managing Director at Interswitch Limited. “TA Associates will prove highly beneficial to our ongoing efforts of consolidating the impact of our services and increasing financial inclusion for all. We welcome TA as our newest investor and look forward to benefitting from their experience in the payments space and their valuable insight and support.”

Helios invested in Interswitch in 2011 and spearheaded its growth not only in their core processing and card scheme businesses but also into mobile payments, expansion into East Africa and the launching of products and services to address the unbanked – driving financial inclusion.

The digital payments evolution is in the early stages of development in Nigeria, with cash used for 99% of transactions according to McKinsey & Company, versus approximately 50% for developed markets in North America and Europe. Despite the young market, the size of the Nigerian payments opportunity is underpinned by its continent-leading population and sizeable economy. Based on estimates from McKinsey & Company, Interswitch occupies a leading position in the emerging marketplace, especially in debit cards, which comprise 99% of all cards in Nigeria.

Interswitch joins TA Associates’ other current and past payment processing investments worldwide, including BluePay Processing, Cardtronics, IndiaIdeas.com (BillDesk), Procare Software, Retriever Medical/Dental Payments, W.A.G. payment solutions (Eurowag) and YeePay.