(Reuters) – Mastercard Inc made a 233 million pound ($305 million) bid to take over payments firm Earthport Plc on Friday, scuppering rival Visa Inc’s attempts to buy the British company.

Mastercard’s offer is at a 10 percent premium to Visa’s 198 million pound offer. Earthport’s shares, which have jumped four-fold since the offer period began, added another 25 percent in light trading on Friday.

The U.S. company said the Earthport deal would allow it to expand its cross-border network service, the same reason cited by Visa when its made its bid in December.

Payment processing has become one of the hottest areas for dealmaking in the last two years, driven by technological changes in the way consumers pay for products.

Earthport offers a lower-cost alternative to traditional payments systems by allowing banks and money transfer firms to have a single relationship instead of multiple ties with various payments channels around the world.

Earthport’s directors have unanimously recommended Mastercard’s offer and withdrawn their recommendation for Visa’s proposal, the company said.

Earthport’s shares, listed on the London Stock Exchange’s secondary market, fell more than 28 percent in 2018 amid growing losses and expenses, forcing the firm to say in November that “fundamental” changes were required in its strategy.

Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; aAdditional reporting by Rachel Armstrong; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty


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