Payment unicorn Pine Labs, a Mastercard-backed Indian payments startup, is considering to buy out the Asian business of bankrupt Wirecard.
A payments and risk management service provider, Wirecard filed for bankruptcy last month after $2 Bn had gone missing from its balance sheet over an alleged accounting fraud.
Subsequently, Wirecard CEO Markus Braun was arrested in an accounting-fraud probe, since released on bail.
According to sources, multiple players have expressed interest in the company’s assets, while others such as Hitachi Payments and Atos-backed Worldline Technology have made inquiries about the sale.
Reports suggest that Wirecard’s various businesses worldwide are up for sale.
Headquartered in Singapore, Wirecard’s Asia business services about 20,000 merchants in India, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Australia, and Malaysia markets among others, as per disclosures made by the company to media outlets earlier this year.
However, ongoing developments could lead to the company losing several merchants and buyers before a deal is finalised. Sources said that the buyers are likely going to wait for the regulatory proceedings against Wirecard to conclude so that the picture gets clearer for the terms of the deal to be decided.
“The discussion is still in very early stages and it’s obviously challenging as there is ongoing litigation against the company,” sources said. “There is also concern that Wirecard may lose its customers during any process of migration due to these proceedings.”
The US-based investment firm Sequoia Capital has been investing in Pine Labs since 2009. Earlier this year, Inc42 reported that Pine Labs had raised an undisclosed amount from Mastercard.
With the funding, both Pine Labs and Mastercard further extended their partnership, which had begun in 2016, to facilitate rapid growth of convenient electronic payment options for consumers across India. According to the terms of the partnership, Pine Labs’ point of sale devices at 26,000 stores would support Mastercard’s contactless payment instrument.
Founded in 1998 by Lokvir Kapoor, Pine Labs enables online and offline retail transactions. It claims to process $30 Bn payments per year