Network International and Mastercard to form strategic partnership to accelerate digital payments growth in Africa and Middle East underpinned by $300 million cornerstone investment at IPO

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Network International Holdings Limited (“Network International” or the “Company”) and Mastercard Inc. (“Mastercard”) today announced that they have reached an agreement for Mastercard to make a $300 million cornerstone investment in Network International’s planned IPO on the London Stock Exchange. The companies have also agreed to enter into a strategic partnership to support and accelerate the development of electronic payments in Africa and the Middle East.

Mastercard and Network International will support their mutual strategy of growing the payments ecosystem in the world’s most underpenetrated payments market. Mastercard will pay, or invest through, Network International annually for the development and delivery of shared innovation to expand product areas and drive the adoption of digital payments in Africa and the Middle East.

Under the partnership, Network International and Mastercard will establish shared development projects and cross-referral arrangements for products and value-added services to financial institutions and merchants, including cyber and intelligence tools and tokenization solutions to drive incremental financial benefits to both parties. Both parties will retain and offer their respective independent solutions, and Network International fully retains its scheme agnostic strategy.

Mastercard’s cornerstone investment will be based on the same terms as institutional investors participating in the IPO, subject to a 9.99 percent ownership limitation, a 24 month lock-up period and a 36 month standstill not to acquire additional shares without Network International Board approval. The transaction is conditional on an IPO of Network International with an institutional free float of at least 25 percent.

Simon Haslam, CEO of Network International said: “I am delighted that Network International has agreed to enter into a strategic partnership with Mastercard. Mastercard has been an important partner for Network International in the Middle East and Africa for many years with both companies having a shared vision for growing the card payments ecosystem in the region. Today’s announcement will see both parties working on joint development projects and cross-referral arrangements to drive card penetration, usage and acceptance in the MEA region. In addition, it will also enable us to develop and offer new value-added solutions for our clients, through our scalable and secure pan-regional technology platforms.”

Ron Kalifa, Chairman of Network International said: “Mastercard’s commitment to become a cornerstone investor in Network International’s planned IPO with a $300 million investment, demonstrates significant confidence in the strength of the business as we move forward to listing. Network International sits at the heart of the Middle East and Africa’s payments ecosystem, the world’s most underpenetrated payments market, providing investors with the unique opportunity to benefit from the rapid structural shift from cash to digital payments.”

Raghu Malhotra, President of Middle East and Africa at Mastercard said: “Over the last 30 years, Mastercard has significantly expanded its footprint and capabilities across the Middle East and Africa – rapidly transforming to become one of the leading technology companies in the region today. Our collaboration and partnerships with organizations such as Network International, have resulted in greater inclusion and greater economic development. We are committed to continuing to invest in emerging markets and this cornerstone investment is a great example of this.

We believe that Network International’s broad geographic reach will complement our existing activities and help to deliver a deeper and sustained shift from the use of cash and checks. We will continue to partner with stakeholders across the region that help to enhance the electronic payment industry.”

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