The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement and payments, today announced that the Company has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a minority stake in fast growing Saudi Digital Payments Company, or stc pay, a fully owned subsidiary of Saudi Telecom Company. According to the terms of the transaction, Western Union will invest up to $200 million for up to 15% ownership of stc pay. In conjunction with the investment, the companies extended the terms of their commercial relationship.
stc pay has rapidly developed into a leading digital wallet service in Saudi Arabia, a young and quickly developing market which offers huge potential for digital services. With a strong base of over 4 million customers and an established regional brand in the fast-growing digital wallet market, Western Union believes that stc pay is poised to experience strong growth in the future.
Western Union operates a strong and resilient global business across digital and retail channels. The Company has achieved significant progress in its digital growth strategy in 2020 through both its market leading westernunion.com channel and digital partnerships. In the third quarter of 2020, digital revenues increased 45% year-over-year, representing 21% of Western Union’s consumer business, and trended at an annual rate of over $900 million. The Company currently partners with stc pay, providing money transfer services that allow stc pay’s users to send money from its app to 200+ countries and territories in 130+ currencies through Western Union’s extensive global network of accounts, wallets, cards and retail.
“I am extremely pleased with the progress of Western Union’s digital growth strategy this year. A key element of this strategy is partnering with innovative financial companies to expand services for their customers and drive incremental growth for Western Union. Our strategy has proven to be successful, and I am encouraged by the meaningful contribution our partnership with stc pay made to Western Union’s digital growth in 2020,” said Western Union Chief Executive Officer Hikmet Ersek.
Jean Claude Farah, President, Global Network at Western Union commented: “We are very excited about this investment in stc pay because of our demonstrated success working together. We believe the company is well positioned for continued growth and expansion into new digital payment services in the Gulf region. This is a great opportunity to participate in the growth potential of an innovative and dynamic financial services company such as stc pay and supporting its growing customer base through our market leading cross-border services.”
Nasser Alnasser stc group CEO said, “As a digital enabler and a pioneer in the digital transformation, we aspire to play a vital role in the vision of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) in many initiatives that support creativity and developing the financial services, as Fintech is a pillar of stc strategy.
Alnasser added : “We are proud that stc pay has not only reached unicorn status but also has been recognized as a fintech national champion in a very short time, and that motivates us to devote more efforts to provide more products to enhance the customer’s experience.”
Commenting on the transaction, stc pay CEO Ahmed Alenazi said: “We are delighted that such a prestigious and visionary company as Western Union has identified stc pay as a company with such strong prospects. We are grateful for their appreciation of the strength of the brand and the business we are growing. Their focus on customers’ changing needs and the drive for innovation makes them the ideal partner for our next period of growth.”
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, subject to receiving all regulatory approvals.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement and payments. Our omnichannel platform connects the digital and physical worlds and makes it possible for consumers and businesses to send and receive money and make payments with speed, ease, and reliability. As of September 30, 2020, our network included over 550,000 retail agent locations offering our branded services in more than 200 countries and territories, with the capability to send money to billions of accounts. Additionally, westernunion.com, our fastest growing channel in 2019, is available in over 75 countries, plus additional territories, to move money around the world. With our global reach, Western Union moves money for better, connecting family, friends, and businesses to enable financial inclusion and support economic growth. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.
About stc pay
In harmony with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to progress and diversify digital services; stc pay, a subsidiary of stc Group, has been built to become a pioneering service of the futuristic wave that enables new endeavors and unlocks new possibilities.
We share a future vision with customers and businesses to provide new and innovative technologies and digital experiences. Using stc’s powerful network, we are able to better connect merchants with their customers through our secure digital wallet solution, stc pay, to empower both sides to complete their transactions quickly, easily, and securely.
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Possible events or factors that could cause results or performance to differ materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements include the following: (i) events related to our business and industry, such as: changes in general economic conditions and economic conditions in the regions and industries in which we operate, including global economic downturns and trade disruptions, or significantly slower growth or declines in the money transfer, payment service, and other markets in which we operate, including downturns or declines related to interruptions in migration patterns or other events, such as public health emergencies, epidemics, or pandemics such as COVID-19, civil unrest, war, terrorism, or natural disasters, or non-performance by our banks, lenders, insurers, or other financial services providers; failure to compete effectively in the money transfer and payment service industry, including among other things, with respect to price, with global and niche or corridor money transfer providers, banks and other money transfer and payment service providers, including electronic, mobile and internet-based services, card associations, and card-based payment providers, and with digital currencies and related protocols, and other innovations in technology and business models; political conditions and related actions, including trade restrictions and government sanctions, in the United States and abroad, which may adversely affect our business and economic conditions as a whole, including interruptions of United States or other government relations with countries in which we have or are implementing significant business relationships with agents or clients; deterioration in customer confidence in our business, or in money transfer and payment service providers generally; our ability to adopt new technology and develop and gain market acceptance of new and enhanced services in response to changing industry and consumer needs or trends; changes in, and failure to manage effectively, exposure to foreign exchange rates, including the impact of the regulation of foreign exchange spreads on money transfers and payment transactions; any material breach of security, including cybersecurity, or safeguards of or interruptions in any of our systems or those of our vendors or other third parties; cessation of or defects in various services provided to us by third-party vendors; mergers, acquisitions, and the integration of acquired businesses and technologies into our Company, divestitures, and the failure to realize anticipated financial benefits from these transactions, and events requiring us to write down our goodwill; decisions to change our business mix; our ability to realize the anticipated benefits from restructuring-related initiatives, which may include decisions to downsize or to transition operating activities from one location to another, and to minimize any disruptions in our workforce that may result from those initiatives; failure to manage credit and fraud risks presented by our agents, clients, and consumers; failure to maintain our agent network and business relationships under terms consistent with or more advantageous to us than those currently in place, including due to increased costs or loss of business as a result of increased compliance requirements or difficulty for us, our agents, or their subagents in establishing or maintaining relationships with banks needed to conduct our services; changes in tax laws or their interpretation, any subsequent regulation, and potential related state income tax impacts, and unfavorable resolution of tax contingencies; adverse rating actions by credit rating agencies; our ability to protect our brands and our other intellectual property rights and to defend ourselves against potential intellectual property infringement claims; our ability to attract and retain qualified key employees and to manage our workforce successfully; material changes in the market value or liquidity of securities that we hold; restrictions imposed by our debt obligations; (ii) events related to our regulatory and litigation environment, such as: liabilities or loss of business resulting from a failure by us, our agents, or their subagents to comply with laws and regulations and regulatory or judicial interpretations thereof, including laws and regulations designed to protect consumers, or detect and prevent money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud, and other illicit activity; increased costs or loss of business due to regulatory initiatives and changes in laws, regulations and industry practices and standards, including changes in interpretations, in the United States and abroad, affecting us, our agents, or their subagents, or the banks with which we or our agents maintain bank accounts needed to provide our services, including related to anti-money laundering regulations, anti-fraud measures, our licensing arrangements, customer due diligence, agent and subagent due diligence, registration and monitoring requirements, consumer protection requirements, remittances, and immigration; liabilities, increased costs or loss of business and unanticipated developments resulting from governmental investigations and consent agreements with or enforcement actions by regulators; liabilities resulting from litigation, including class-action lawsuits and similar matters, and regulatory enforcement actions, including costs, expenses, settlements, and judgments; failure to comply with regulations and evolving industry standards regarding consumer privacy, data use, the transfer of personal data between jurisdictions and information security with respect to the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union and the California Consumer Privacy Act; failure to comply with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as well as regulations issued pursuant to it and the actions of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and similar legislation and regulations enacted by other governmental authorities in the United States and abroad related to consumer protection and derivative transactions; effects of unclaimed property laws or their interpretation or the enforcement thereof; failure to maintain sufficient amounts or types of regulatory capital or other restrictions on the use of our working capital to meet the changing requirements of our regulators worldwide; changes in accounting standards, rules and interpretations, or industry standards affecting our business; and (iii) other events such as: catastrophic events; and management’s ability to identify and manage these and other risks.
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