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Pine Labs Weighs Bid for Part of Wirecard’s Asia Business

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 7/3/2020 Chanyaporn Chanjaroen and Anto Antony
a cellphone on a table: The Wirecard AG payment app launch screen is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone X smartphone in this arranged photograph in Frankfurt, Germany, on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Singapore’s financial regulators are working with local police to scrutinize aspects of the case surrounding Wirecard AG, the scandal-ridden German payments company. © Bloomberg The Wirecard AG payment app launch screen is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone X smartphone in this arranged photograph in Frankfurt, Germany, on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Singapore’s financial regulators are working with local police to scrutinize aspects of the case surrounding Wirecard AG, the scandal-ridden German payments company.

(Bloomberg) -- Pine Labs, the Indian payments company backed by Sequoia Capital and Mastercard Inc., is considering a bid for fallen fintech star Wirecard AG’s businesses in Southeast Asia and India, according to people familiar with the matter.

A potential bid is still at an exploratory stage, as there’s no information available yet on the valuation and finances of Wirecard’s Asian operations, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is confidential. There’s no certainty that Pine Labs will proceed with a formal bid, the people added.

The sale of Wirecard’s businesses will be clouded by ongoing probes into its operations after the German payments firm was forced into insolvency by an accounting scandal. Wirecard said last month that almost 2 billion euros ($2.25 billion) it previously reported as cash probably never existed.

However, several Wirecard’s subsidiaries -- including those in Asia -- weren’t part of the insolvency filing. The firm’s administrators have said the assets are attracting interest from many global investors and a sale process involving investment banks is on the way.

Pine Labs is potentially interested in Wirecard’s regional point-of-sale business, which handles merchants’ payments transactions, one of the people said. That is Pine Labs’ core business in India, and any acquisition of Wirecard assets would allow it to expand those operations further in Southeast Asia, the person added.

Pine Labs Chief Executive Officer Amrish Rau declined to comment in an emailed response to questions from Bloomberg News.

Read a QuickTake on Wirecard’s fall from grace

Singapore is home to Wirecard’s Asia-Pacific headquarters and the company has been expanding aggressively in the region, which accounted for almost 45% of the group’s reported revenue in 2018, second only to Europe. In the city state, the fintech firm is facing probes by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the local accounting authority and the police’s financial-crime unit.

Pine Labs, founded by Lokvir Kapoor, processes $30 billion of payments a year and serves some 140,000 merchants via 450,000 network points, according to the company’s website. Incorporated in Singapore, the company counts Temasek Holdings Pte and PayPal Holdings Inc. among its other key investors.

(Updates with details of other Pine Labs investors in last paragraph)

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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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