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Interswitch Online payments platform completes VANSO acquisition

VANSO CEO, Denis O’Brien will lead the Interswitch mobile payment business unit with a mandate to drive aggressive organic and geographic growth.

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Mitchell Elegbe, founder and group managing director, Interswitch play

Mitchell Elegbe, founder and group managing director, Interswitch


Interswitch has successfully completed a 100% acquisition of Value Added Network Solutions Limited (VANSO). VANSO is a mobile and security-focused financial technology provider in Africa.

The transaction has received all relevant regulatory and shareholder approvals, including the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The transaction will result in VANSO’s mobile banking, SMS and security business lines being fully integrated into Interswitch’s digital commerce and technology operations in Nigeria, and across the continent where they can leverage on Interswitch’s geographic expansion.

The current management team of VANSO will be absorbed into the Interswitch management organisation. VANSO CEO, Denis O’Brien will lead the Interswitch mobile payment business unit with a mandate to drive aggressive organic and geographic growth.

Commenting on the acquisition transaction, VANSO CEO Denis O’Brien said: “Having secured a market leading position in Nigerian mobile financial services over the last 13 years, we are excited that the integration with Interswitch will enable our technology to go further, transforming payment solutions across borders and remaining at the forefront of development in the industry.”

In Interswitch, we have found a partner with ambitions aligned to our own, and the institutional backing and scale to rapidly accelerate their attainment. I would like to thank our Board, executive management team and all our staff, who have worked tirelessly over the last 18 months to identify the most appropriate growth option for us. We look forward to working with the Interswitch management and board over the coming years to deepen and broaden financial services across the continent.”

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VANSO’s existing shareholders will become shareholders of the Interswitch Group, aligning the long-term interests of both companies.

The acquisition will provide a boost for Interswitch's mobile financial service offerings, bringing fast growing segments like virtual airtime top-up, bills payments, remittance and transfers, banking and e- commerce in house, with geographic expansion opportunities and across multiple delivery mechanisms including USSD, SIM toolkits and advanced mobile applications.

The VANSO is the latest in a series of acquisitions to improve Interswitch’s product and service offerings, extending its reach into new markets as the financial technology sector in Africa expands rapidly.

Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch, said: “The acquisition of VANSO, both a market leader in the mobile financial services industry and a strong and profitable business, is a great opportunity to combine our respective technology offerings and skill sets, driving growth in our business. By integrating operations, we not only secure access to new payment channels, but a highly skilled leadership team as well, while VANSO now has access to new markets, a mutually beneficial step for both our companies.

The mobile banking sector in particular is experiencing rapid growth, with the number of mobile banking customers projected to rise exponentially across the continent within the next 3-5 years. Alongside VANSO, Interswitch is even more strategically placed to capitalise on growth in the payment solutions industry and to continue delivering innovative solutions for Africa.”

In September 2014, Interswitch acquired Paynet Group of Kenya in a deal that resulted in the creation of a combined network of over 150 financial institutions. Paynet Group rebranded to Interswitch East Africa in October 2015. The VANSO suite of business lines offers complementary opportunities that can be leveraged through this existing platform.

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