On Friday VISA increased its offer for UK-based Earthport, which has been a Ripple partner since 2015. VISA originally bid 30 pence per share on 27 December 2018 and on Friday it raised the offer to 37 pence after being outbid by Mastercard (33 pence) on 25 January. Prior to VISA’s latest bid, the Earthport stock price indicated that the market was expecting an increased offer from VISA. And with a closing price on Friday of 45 pence, the market thinks there’s still more to come.
Earthport is a UK regulated Authorised Payments Institution. The company runs an Automated Clearing House (ACH) network. Its local banking partnerships around the world enables Earthport clients to settle directly via local clearing in over 87 countries. Without an ACH it’s common for cross-border bank transfers to go through one or more intermediate banks which is costly and slow.
One of the first high profile banks to use Ripple was Santander UK, and its first app was powered by Earthport using Ripple technology. Earthport also designed a hub to integrate with other DLT payment platforms.
The latest 37 pence cash offer values Earthport at £247 million ($321m) on a fully diluted basis according to VISA. The price is a 12 percent premium over the Mastercard offer and 23 percent more than the original VISA bid. It’s almost five times the closing price of 7.45 pence prior to the first bid.
A recent Financial Times article stated that the average premium since 2010 for a hostile US acquisition is 35 percent according to Dealogic. This deal is already at 397 percent.
Mastercard issued the following statement: “Mastercard is considering its options and urges Earthport Shareholders to take no action in response to the announcement by Visa.”