Vocalink became another major UK company to be taken over by an overseas buyer this week when US company Mastercard acquired it for £869m. Vocalink is owned by a number of major banks including Barclays, Lloyds and HSBC, and is chaired by former deputy governor of the Bank of England, Sir John Gieve. The company owns the UK’s ATM network as well as an automated clearing house which processes direct debits. Mastercard is buying 92.4 per cent of Vocalink, with the remaining stake to be held by the banks for at least three years. It will pay £700m as well as up to £169m worth of earn-outs depending on certain performance targets Vocalink needs to meet.
Vocalink was quick to disperse rumours that the takeover reinforced the supposed trend of overseas buyers taking advantage of the post-Brexit slump in the pound. A spokesperson said that the company had been in talks with Mastercard for eight months. Concerns of British companies becoming easy takeover targets were sparked when Japanese firm Softbank made a £24.3bn offer for Cambridge chip designers, Arm Holdings. Phillip Hammond, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that the Vocalink takeover “shows that Britain remains an attractive destination for international investors”.
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