Paysafe may be on the way to public markets via $10B SPAC deal
Online payments company Paysafe is likely on its way to becoming a publicly traded company, but not via the traditional IPO route.
Bloomberg has reported over the weekend that Paysafe – which operates the Neteller, Skrill, and PaysafeCard brands (among others) – and its private equity shareholders are in discussions with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (or SPAC) controlled by billionaire investor Bill Foley. While still preliminary, the discussions revolve around a merger between Paysafe and Foley’s Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp. II. Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp. II raised $1.3 billion in August.
SPACs, also known as blank check companies, are empty companies taken public with the plan to acquire an existing private business. The SPAC can use both its cash raised and its own shares as currency for an acquisition. The main advantage that a SPAC has in negotiating with a private company (such as Paysafe) which wants to go public is that the SPAC can basically guarantee the success of the company becoming public on known, negotiated terms. A traditional IPO is a more lengthy and risky proposition, with the company not knowing if market conditions will be conducive once time comes to actually price the IPO.
According to Bloomberg, the discussions revolve around valuing Paysafe post-deal in the $10 billion range. Paysafe was acquired in 2017 by a group of private equity investors led by Blackstone and CVC Capital at a valuation of $4 billion, so a $10 billion exit in less than 4 years marks a significant win for those firms. Indeed, while privately held it is believed that most of Paysafe’s businesses are doing quite well now, with online commerce having skyrocketed during the COVID-19 crisis.
The contemplated deal would require additional outside financing, with the $1.3 billion in cash at the SPAC only about half of what would be required to get a deal done.
Many brokers in the Retail FX sector rely on Paysafe’s services to process client deposits – something which has become more difficult are harder to do over time for many brokers. Paysafe’s brands, notably Neteller and Skrill, are also a primary payment mechanism for FX brokers to distribute commissions to affiliates and introducing brokers.