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Business deals

SoftBank to invest $1bn in German e-payment provider

Japanese tech group to back Wirecard's debut in Japan and South Korea

Wirecard provides online payment systems for 34,000 business clients worldwide.   © Reuters

FRANKFURT, Germany -- Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank Group will invest about 900 million euros ($1.01 billion) into German online payment company Wirecard as part of a strategic tie-up, it was announced Wednesday.

The infusion will come in the form of convertible bonds equivalent to a roughly 5.6% stake in Wirecard. The deal will close after receiving approval at Wirecard's shareholders meeting in June.

Wirecard offers online payment systems that work through mobile devices, among other services. The client list spans 34,000 businesses globally, and the company plans to expand to Japan and South Korea.

SoftBank inked a memorandum of understanding supporting Wirecard in its East Asian expansion. The Japanese multinational will tap the companies in its portfolio to collaborate on digital payments, data analysis, artificial intelligence and other areas. Both sides also anticipate joint development of new products and services.

The Financial Times reported in January that a senior Wirecard executive at its Asian operations was suspected of using forged and backdated contracts in 2018.

In response, Wirecard issued a statement last month that an outside law firm investigating the matter found no accounting inaccuracies with material impact to the company's financial position.

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