Business Journal


Interswitch Acquires Vanso to Boost Service Delivery

Mitchell Elegbe Group MD/CEO Interswitch

Interswitch Limited, Africa’s leading digital payments and commerce company has successfully completed 100% acquisition of Value Added Network Solutions Limited (VANSO).

VANSO is a market leading mobile and security-focused financial technology provider, delivering cutting-edge and innovative solutions in Africa. The transaction has received all relevant regulatory and shareholder approvals, including the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The transaction will result in VANSO’s highly successful mobile banking, SMS and security business lines being fully integrated into Interswitch’s digital commerce and technology operations in Nigeria, and across the continent where they can leverage on Interswitch’s geographic expansion.

Key highlights of the acquisition include:

  • The current management team of VANSO will be absorbed into the Interswitch management organisation. VANSO CEO, Denis O’Brien will lead the Interswitch mobile payment’s business unit with a mandate to drive aggressive organic and geographic growth. Denis brings nearly two decades of financial technology experience in Africa.
  • VANSO’s existing shareholders will become shareholders of the Interswitch Group, aligning the long-term interests of both companies towards long-term growth.
  • The acquisition will enhance the Interswitch mobile financial services offering, bringing fast growing segments like virtual airtime top-up, bills payments, remittance and transfers, banking and e- commerce in house, with rapid geographic expansion opportunities and across multiple delivery mechanisms including USSD, SIM toolkits and advanced mobile applications.

This acquisition of VANSO is the latest in a series of strategic integrations designed to improve Interswitch’s product and service offerings, extending its reach into new markets as the financial technology sector in Africa expands rapidly.

Interswitch acquired Paynet Group of Kenya in September 2014, in a deal that resulted in the creation of a combined network of over 150 financial institutions, deepening Interswitch’s footprint in East Africa. Paynet Group rebranded to Interswitch East Africa in October 2015. The VANSO suite of business lines offers highly complementary opportunities that can be leveraged through this existing platform.

Interswitch intends to continue with its expansion aspirations whilst refining its offering, creating innovative payment solutions that are individually tailored to the demands of the African market.

The integration with VANSO, whose core strengths lie in mobile technology, will allow Interswitch to provide comprehensive solutions leveraging fast growing subscriber bases for regional and international businesses looking to take advantage of growth opportunities in Africa.

Commenting on the transaction Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch, said:

“The acquisition of VANSO, both a market leader in the mobile financial services industry and a strong and profitable business, is a great opportunity to combine our respective technology offerings and skill sets, driving growth in our business. By integrating operations, we not only secure access to new payment channels, but a highly skilled leadership team as well, while VANSO now has access to new markets, a mutually beneficial step for both our companies.

“The mobile banking sector in particular is experiencing rapid growth, with the number of mobile banking customers projected to rise exponentially across the continent within the next 3-5 years. Alongside VANSO, Interswitch is even more strategically placed to capitalise on growth in the payment solutions industry and to continue delivering innovative solutions for Africa.”

Commenting on the acquisition transaction, VANSO CEO Denis O’Brien said:

“Having secured a market leading position in Nigerian mobile financial services over the last 13 years, we are excited that the integration with Interswitch will enable our technology to go further, transforming payment solutions across borders and remaining at the forefront of development in the industry.”

“In Interswitch, we have found a partner with ambitions aligned to our own, and the institutional backing and scale to rapidly accelerate their attainment. I would like to thank our Board, executive management team and all our staff, who have worked tirelessly over the last 18 months to identify the most appropriate growth option for us. We look forward to working with the Interswitch management and board over the coming years to deepen and broaden financial services across the continent.”


About Interswitch

Interswitch is an Africa-focused integrated electronic payment and commerce company that facilitates the electronic circulation of money as well as the exchange of value between individuals and organisations on a timely and consistent basis.

Interswitch also provides technology integration, advisory services, payment infrastructure and transaction processing across multiple channels to organisations across various sectors, including but not limited to: aviation, government, health, education, banking, insurance, SME, religious bodies, FMCGs etc.

Interswitch is present in 4 countries across the continent and has connected East and West Africa with an unequalled network of more than 100 financial institutions.

Interswitch has demonstrated consistent, strong and profitable growth since the business was founded in 2001 and in the five years to 2014, Interswitch’s revenue grew by 1,226% according to the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Africa Report, making Interswitch the fastest growing technology business in Africa. This strong growth has further accelerated Interswitch expansion strategies in Africa.

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