Visa Inc., the American payment services giant, is to acquire Earthport plc, a partner to Ripple and a payment network for cross-border transactions – transactions that involve parties in two or more countries. The price of shares in Earthport plc soared by over 250% after the announcement was made.
Earthport is based in London and is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, counting Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Hyperwallet, Transferwise and Japan Post Bank among its clients. Founded in 1997, it employs over 200 people in offices in London, New York, Miami, Dubai and Singapore.
Earthport offers cross-border payment services to banks and other financial institutions providing access to a global payments network. The company is a partner of Ripple, a tech company, with the partnership aimed at improving international transactions through integrating the Ripple protocol into the firm’s existing payment network.
According to the Reuters report of 27thDecember 2018, Visa Inc. will pay £198 million ($250.6 million) for Earthport, representing £0.30 for each Earthport share, which exceeds the stock’s closing price the previous Monday by over four times per share. Earthport’s shares had been falling this year in the face of growing losses and increasing expenses, dropping by 28% and resulting in a company statement that “fundamental” changes would have to be made.
In 2016, Earthport launched the world’s first distributed ledger hub, and through a single, inexpensive API, Earthport’s clients can clear and settle funds locally with its banking partners, thereby streamlining cross-border transactions and reducing costs. The API provides access to the Ripple ecosystem and, through the partnership with Earthport, access to a broad range of payment methods in over 200 countries.
With cross-border payments an area of growth for Visa, Reuters noted the obvious appeal of the deal. Visa had stated back in October, that the volume on cross-border payments had increased by 10% during the 2018 fiscal year.