CCI approves acquisition of minority stake in Limited by Visa International Service Limited

On January 10, 2019, pursuant to the execution of transaction documents on November 16, 2018, CCI approved the acquisition of 13.12% of the total equity share capital in Limited (‘IndiaIdeas’) by Visa International Service Limited (‘Visa’) (collectively referred to as ‘Parties’).[1]

Visa is engaged in the provision of various services relating to digital payments around the globe. In India, Visa provides affiliation of credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards issued by the banks; provision of payment gateways technology services; and data analytics for fraud detection/ protection. IndiaIdeas offers technology platform and services that primarily assist utility businesses to receive payments from their customers, under the brand name ‘BillDesk’.

CCI observed that the Parties are primarily engaged in provision of services facilitating digital payments. It was noted that facilitation of digital payments requires a whole host of enabling services that act near simultaneously. Within this space, Visa enables the banks to operate payment gateways and connect to card networks. On the other hand, IndiaIdeas operates as a payment gateway to merchants. The services provided by the Parties were seen as complementary. In light of these facts, CCI assessed the impact of this combination in the overall digital payment space.

In its competitive assessment of the overall digital payment space, CCI noted that typically banks will have several payment gateways. A payment aggregator (such as BillDesk) will connect to one of these payment gateways (such as Visa) to process the payments. Additionally, CCI noted that it was not commercially viable for IndiaIdeas to enter into an exclusivity arrangement with Visa and vice versa since the competitors of IndiaIdeas would be offering a wider range of options for payments gateways.

In light of the above, CCI approved the combination since it was not likely to have any appreciable adverse effect on competition (‘AAEC’) in India in any of the markets.

[1] Combination Registration No. C- 2018/12/620

Published In:Inter Alia Special Edition- Competition Law - March 2019 [ English
Date: March 1, 2019