Crédit Agricole and Worldline enter into exclusive discussions to create a major player in merchant services in France

Worldline, a global leader in payment services, and Crédit Agricole SA, announced today the signing of a non-binding exclusive agreement regarding a strategic partnership to create a major player in the payment market of France.

France is a highly attractive and strategic market for Worldline. France is the 2nd largest economy in Continental Europe, enjoying robust economic performance, sustained by consistent policy frameworks and strong institutions, as well as an attractive investment environment.

The French payment industry shows solid dynamics with a sizable and growing addressable market and a high level of readiness and receptiveness towards cashless payment methods. With aggregated Merchant Sales Value (MSV) of c.€ 700 billion, the French payment market is by far the largest payment market in Continental Europe.

With cash penetration still high, at c.40% of payment volumes, the French market offers an attractive growth opportunity driven by the secular shift from cash to card and by continued demand for innovation. Combined with French “Cartes Bancaires” domestic scheme and its strong and resilient market share capturing c.80% of card transactions volumes, these market trends make France a particularly attractive country in the broader European context.

The contemplated alliance between Crédit Agricole and Worldline is a unique opportunity for both companies to significantly expand their merchant services activities in this high-potential market.

Leveraging the strengths of the two companies, the contemplated partnership would offer a state-of-the-art combination of technological and commercial offerings at scale allowing to adequately respond to any type of evolving merchant needs, whether local or global. It would be fueled by:

 Worldline’s vertical expertise embedded into strong instore and online capabilities to serve merchants at scale thanks to its global solutions, platforms and payment applications, and;

 Crédit Agricole’s strong distribution networks through the 39 Crédit Agricole ‘s Regional Banks and LCL bank, combining a deep French market presence with more than 16,000 banking advisors for enterprises and local knowledge in merchants acquiring.

The partnership would be ensured by the set-up of a fully licensed joint-company between Crédit Agricole and Worldline. The joint-company would be majority owned (50% of total capital plus one share) and fully consolidated by Worldline. It would be in charge of leveraging Worldline’s global European processing platforms and of developing all the innovative products dedicated to the French market. The joint-company would also be in charge of the commercial development of the alliance, both directly for largest merchants in particular, and by providing an active support to the bank distribution channels.

The contemplated joint-company would offer to the key accounts in France a full-service offering leveraging Worldline’s global acceptance and acquiring platform, including the domestic “Cartes Bancaires” scheme. In parallel, Worldline would be able to offer to its international merchants an access to the domestic scheme, further expanding its broad range of payment schemes.

With respect to SMBs, this planned combination would also bring to merchants, whatever their size or location, deep access to an enriched offering of payment brands and means, and value-added services covering all their needs, from mobile acceptance devices to more traditional Point-of-Sales (POS: Point Of Sale) solutions for seamless payment experience, ultimately improving merchant experience and consumer purchasing journeys.

These new all-in-one solutions combining instore and online capabilities at large and local scale to serve French merchants and consumers in the best way, coupled with the power of Crédit Agricole’s distribution network, would be a key differentiating factor to create a payments major player in France.

The contemplated operation remains subject to both parties’ works council consultation and to corporate authorizations and customary regulatory approval:

 2023-2024: Joint investment phase of € 80 million equally financed by Worldline and Crédit Agricole for the product and offering design, and joint company implementation

 2025 onwards: Full implementation of the joint company starting to generate revenues and OMDA.

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