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Afterpay-Square deal won’t go to public review: ACCC

The competition watchdog has said that it does not intend to conduct a public review of the proposed acquisition of buy now, pay later giant Afterpay by digital payments company Square, Inc.

The proposed multibillion-dollar acquisition of ASX-listed “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) platform by Lanai (AU) 2 Pty Ltd – a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Silicon Valley-based digital payments company Square, Inc (Square) – has taken a step closer to completion after Square stockholders approved the acquisition and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it would not take the deal to public review.

On Thursday (4 November), it was announced that stockholders of the NYSE-listed payments company had approved the issuance of Square shares for the acquisition of Afterpay.

Following this, the first court hearing was held on Thursday (4 November) and the scheme booklet was released, following registration with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The 431-page booklet outlines the details of the proposed acquisition, and reveals that the Afterpay directors are unanimously recommending that Afterpay shareholders vote in favour of the scheme at the virtual meeting on 6 December.

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The board said it believed the “complementarity” of the two businesses would “deliver strategic and commercial outcomes” and represented a “compelling opportunity” to better deliver compelling financial products and services that expand access to more customers and drive incremental revenue for merchants of all sizes”.

For Afterpay, it would enable the company to further accelerate its expansion into the US and other markets, while Square would benefit from an acceleration of its “strategic priorities” for Seller and Cash App ecosystems, “supported by shifting customer preferences away from traditional credit, especially among younger customers”.

The deal is still conditional on regulatory approvals (for example, from the US Department of Justice and the Foreign Investment Review Board) – which Afterpay said were expected to be obtained prior to next month’s shareholder meeting. The scheme booklet reveals that even though ACCC approvals were not a condition of the deal, the ACCC has “confirmed that it does not intend to conduct a public review of the transaction”, which would also speed up the approvals process.

If Afterpay shareholders approve the scheme at the meeting on 6 December, a court hearing would be held on 10 December to approve the scheme. The final day Afterpay shares would trade on the ASX would be 6 January 2022.

[Related: BNPL giant to be bought in record-breaking deal]

 
Afterpay-Square deal won’t go to public review: ACCC
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Annie Kane

Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.

As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts. 

Contact Annie at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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