Sunday , February 28, 2021

With Google Cloud’s Technology, Global Payments Looks for a ‘Substantially’ Expanded Merchant Base

Global Payments Inc. will move its acquiring technology to Google Cloud and serve as a worldwide merchant acquirer for Google under a sweeping agreement announced Monday morning. The pact will also allow Global’s merchant clients to access a long list of Google Cloud services, ranging from payments to data and analytics, email marketing, gift cards, payroll, and other features.

The multi-year deal will “substantially” expand Global’s merchant base worldwide, chief executive Jeff Sloan told analysts on an earnings call early Monday. It also follows Global’s agreement in August to develop cloud-based issuer services with Amazon Web Services.

Some 60% of Global’s revenue now stems from what Sloan called “technology enablement,” a percentage he said the Google and Amazon agreements will expand. While Google arrangement will help retain merchant clients, the Atlanta-based processing giant clearly expects it to help win new business. “Our ability to attract net new merchants will be significantly enhanced,” president and chief operating officer Cameron Bready said on the call. Global now serves 3.5 million merchant locations worldwide, with another 100 clients serviced virtually.

Sloan: “Scale economics will continue to drive consolidation.”

The company did not offer specifics on timing for the migration to Google’s cloud services. “We will gradually move our workload to Google Cloud,” Bready said. “There’s a lot we can do with Google.” He added merchants will have access to Google Cloud services “at different levels of availability that will have different price points associated with them.”

The Google Cloud deal hasn’t diverted management’s attention from potential acquisitions, Sloan said. “Our M&A pipeline is full,” he told the analysts. “We are looking for revenue-growth opportunities.” The company is prepared to open its wallet, he added. “We’ve got plenty of firepower,” he added. Global Payments and rival FIS Inc. in December reportedly broke off talks about what would have been a massive merger. In 2019, Global acquired rival TSYS Inc., which has assets in issuing and acquiring, in a deal worth $21.5 billion.

“We’re in a scale business,” Sloan said. “Scale economics will continue to drive consolidation. We need to continue to invest those areas positioned for growth.”

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Global posted a 3% decline in overall revenue year-over-year, to $1.93 billion. Its merchant-solutions unit alone accounted for $1.23 billion, down 4.5%. Its issuer-solutions unit, which mostly reflects the TSYS acquisition, posted $520 million in revenue, squeaking out a 0.3% increase. Operating income for the company totaled $252 million, up 28.5%.

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