SINGAPORE -- Singapore-based financial services platform Nium has announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire London-based business-to-business payment company Ixaris. The transaction is expected to close early in the third quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions, according to a press release.
Founded in 2002, Ixaris develops payment applications and provides financial transaction services to businesses such as airlines and online travel agents (OTAs), enabling them to reduce surcharges, earn rebates, flatten foreign exchange fees and streamline reconciliation.
Since its inception, it has processed 24 million transactions for a total payment volume of 5 billion pounds ($7 billion), it claims. In 2019, Ixaris issued more than 10 million virtual cards. It was also known as the company that introduced Europe's first virtual prepaid card in 2003.
Ixaris is funded by four investors, namely Future Fifty, Foresight Group, Oxford Technology Management and the EU's EASME (Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises). The investors have so far infused $8.8 million in the firm.
"Airlines and OTAs are actively transforming their technologies and processes in anticipation of a surge in global travel happening this year," said Prajit Nanu, co-founder and CEO of Nium. "The travel industry has long been dependent on slow-moving, monolithic payment platforms. Our acquisition will serve to replace these incumbents with a modern solution that combines Ixaris' leading virtual card capability with Nium's advanced pay-in, pay-out and embedded foreign exchange capabilities."
The acquisition will further enable Nium to provide one API integration to access the world's payment infrastructure. Through the Nium platform, customers in a variety of sectors can quickly deploy new financial services from card issuance to cross-border payments. Nium has licenses in over 40 markets, and integrations can happen in as soon as four weeks.
Nium's payment infrastructure lets companies collect and disburse funds in local currencies to over 100 countries, using a single application programming interface. Businesses can also issue physical and virtual cards globally for spending. They currently serve over 130 million customers.
Last month, Nium was reported to be looking to build its presence in the U.S. as it eyes a public listing in New York in the next 18 to 24 months. The Ixaris acquisition will help Nium expand to new regions, including the U.S.
The financial technology company has raised a total of $80 million in funding from investors including BRI Ventures, Visa, Vertex Ventures, MDI Ventures and Global Founders Capital. Temasek Holdings was most recently the lead investor in its private equity round in April, when it raised about $21 million in fresh funding in a mix of primary and secondary transactions from the Singapore state investor.
In another recent fintech acquisition, in April this year, Pine Labs acquired loss-making Southeast Asian loyalty and cashback platform Fave for $45 million. Pine Labs had invested $4 million in Malaysia-based Fave for a 12% stake a year ago.
Fintech firms in Southeast Asia have been attracting investor interest lately.
The region's fintech firms topped the table in terms of deal volume, clocking 65 PE-VC (private equity-venture capital) deals in the first quarter of this year, showed DealStreetAsia's report "SE Asia Deal Review: Q1 2021." Fintech startups also raised $1.15 billion from the 65 deals -- the third-highest vertical in terms of funds raised in the March quarter.
More recently, Singapore-based cross-border payment startup Thunes raised $60 million in a Series B growth round led by the global private equity and venture capital firm Insight Partners, with participation from Helios Investment Partners, GGV Capital, Future Shape and Checkout.com.
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DealStreetAsia is a financial news site based in Singapore that focuses on private equity, venture capital and corporate investment activity in Asia, especially Southeast Asia, India and greater China. Nikkei owns a majority stake in the company.