Equistone Partners Europe (“Equistone”), one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors, today announces that it has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Small World Financial Services (“Small World” or “the Company”), a leading international, UK-headquartered, multi-channel, cross-border payment service provider. Small World’s investors, including FPE Capital and MMC Ventures, will sell their shareholdings in the Company as part of the transaction, with management reinvesting for a minority stake. The financial terms of the deal are undisclosed and, as Small World is regulated in multiple countries, completion of the transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals.
Small World’s technology-driven platform allows customers to make cross-border payments via its physical network of over 6,000 third-party send-side agents and 80 branches. Small World’s high-growth digital channels, through both app and web, provide choice and convenience to its three million active customers. Since being founded by CEO Nick Day in 2005, Small World has assembled an extensive proprietary international payments infrastructure, providing customers with access to cash collection through a worldwide banking network, fast direct-to-account payments, and loading of mobile wallets. The Company places strong emphasis upon regulatory compliance, relationships with partner banks, and innovative technology to provide a fast, reliable, and good value service to its customers. With millions of customers worldwide, Small World currently employs c.680 people across 16 countries and generates revenues in excess of £110m.
Andrew Backen, Partner at Equistone Partners Europe, commented: “Small World is a well-positioned, strongly growing business led by a talented and experienced management team. Demand for cross-border payments is increasing due to macro-demographic trends, and Small World’s high-quality customer proposition and scalable business model position it to achieve further organic and acquisitive growth. Equistone has a successful track record of investing in financial services businesses in the UK and internationally, and we are excited about working with Nick and his team to support the Company’s continued development.”
Nick Day, Chief Executive of Small World, said: “Our partnership with Equistone will help accelerate the achievement of our goals and provide the funding to drive growth. We believe we are well-positioned to grow and are continuing to extend our multi-channel service proposition into new territories, as well as pursuing bolt-on acquisitions and launching new payment corridors. Our innovative new app will also support the increasingly digitalised needs of our customers through convenient alternative payment solutions. We look forward to working closely with the Equistone team.”
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Dominic Geer, Andrew Backen, and Richard Briault from Equistone led the investment. Equistone has been advised on the acquisition by Quayle Munro (M&A), Travers Smith (legal), EY (financial due diligence), PwC (tax), Huntswood (regulation), UX Fabric (IT due diligence) and Marsh (insurance).
Small World has been advised on the acquisition by Canaccord Genuity (financial) and Charles Russell Speechlys (legal).