April 5, 2019 / 6:13 PM / 3 months ago

UK competition watchdog probes Visa's acquisition of Earthport

FILE PHOTO: A Visa credit card is seen on a computer keyboard in this picture illustration taken September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Illustration

(Reuters) - Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority on Friday said it was investigating Visa Inc’s planned acquisition of payment company Earthport Plc to gauge if the deal would reduce competition in the country.

Visa agreed to buy Earthport for about £247 million, edging out smaller rival Mastercard Inc in a bidding war.

Visa expects the deal to help expand its cross-border network service, a reason also cited by Mastercard for its interest in Earthport.

Earthport offers a lower-cost option to traditional payments systems by allowing banks and money transfer firms to have a single relationship instead of multiple ties with various payments channels around the world.

Payment processing has become one of the hottest areas for deal making in the last two years, driven by technological changes in the way consumers pay for products.

Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru

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