KKR had taken out a loan of EUR 300 million to finance the acquisition of Unzer.
Frankfurt The payment service provider Unzer could be taken over by a group of creditors. The financial investor KKR, currently the majority shareholder of the Berlin company, is about to reach an agreement with the consortium.
Alcentra Asset Management, Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Partners Group have agreed in principle to take a majority stake. This is reported by people familiar with the matter. The group would provide fresh equity and waive part of its claims. According to the circles, KKR retains a minority stake. The takeover still has to be approved by the supervisory authority, it is said.
“Unzer recently received significant financing to accelerate its growth following an agreement reached with our shareholders and a consortium of existing investors,” stated KKR and Unzer. “The new investment strengthens our capital structure and increases our liquidity.”
The declaration only states that the financial investor will remain economically involved. Further details are not given. Alcentra, Goldman and Partners Group spokesmen declined to comment.
According to financial sources, KKR had taken out a €230 million loan to finance the acquisition of Unzer, which was increased for several follow-up purchases.
Financial regulator imposes ban on new customers against Unzer subsidiary
Payment companies process payments at the cash register and increasingly in e-commerce on behalf of retailers. They receive a small percentage of the turnover or a small flat fee from the dealers for each transaction.
When KKR took over Unzer in 2019 – then still under the name Heidelpay – it touted the company as “one of the fastest growing full-service payment providers in Europe”. In autumn 2022, Unzer appointed former Commerzbank boss Martin Blessing as chairman of the newly established advisory board.
After a series of takeovers, including the point-of-sale and terminal business of the collapsed former Dax group Wirecard and the payment service provider Quickpay, Unzer was slowed down in 2022: the German financial regulator Bafin prohibited the Unzer subsidiary from E-Com almost a year ago, the acceptance of new customers with reference to “serious deficiencies”.
According to Unzer, it no longer serves so-called high-risk customers. These include porn and gambling providers. The competitor Computop, the market leader in Germany as an e-commerce payment service provider, has also parted with customers from the gaming and erotica sectors.
In view of the low margins, the competitive pressure is enormous. For providers, the aim is to process as many payments as possible via their systems and thus reduce the costs per transaction. As a payment processor for German online shops, Unzer recently had a market share of a good 17 percent, as determined by the EHI, a retail research institute, with a view to large retailers.
Computop therefore achieves 35 percent. Payone, which is majority owned by the French group Worldline and in which the German savings banks have a stake, comes to around 20 percent. The EHI sees the young companies Klarna from Sweden and Adyen from the Netherlands at 13 and 11 percent respectively.
With agency material
More: Conflicts between fintechs and Bafin are increasing
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