Dan Podheiser has covered the gambling industry since 2013, but he has been an avid poker player for more than a decade, starting when he was just 14 years old. When he turned 18, he played online poker regularly on U.S.-friendly sites until Black Friday in April 2011. More articles by Dan Podheiser
Optimal Payments agrees to buy Skrill for $1.2 billion
25 March 2015
By Dan Podheiser
Optimal Payments wrapped its arms further around the online gaming payment processing world Tuesday when it agreed to purchase one of its top competitors, Skrill, for $1.2 billion.
Together, the two companies will combine to form the Enlarged Group, giving the new firm greater reach across the globe and market leadership in several online gaming jurisdictions.
"We now become significantly more relevant to the industry as the consolidation strengthens our position around the world," Optimal Payments CEO Joel Leonoff told the GPWA.
While Optimal Payments currently does business in more than 200 countries and territories, the acquisition of Skrill brings the company more diversity in geography, technology and product line. Skrill is one of the largest prepaid online voucher providers in Europe thanks to its paysafecard brand, and its NETELLER digital wallet processes payments for every regulated online gaming site in the U.S.
"The acquisition of Skrill will create a global tech champion in the fast growing digital payments space and we believe represents a transformational leap forward that greatly accelerates our strategic plan," Leonoff said in a press release following the acquisition.
The move gives Optimal Payments added relevance to merchants, players, affiliates and regulators in online gaming markets around the world. The goal, according to Leonoff, is to offer players and merchants enough alternate payment options so that merchants can eventually reach a 100 percent conversion rate for players.
"There is a growing opportunity to help facilitate alternative payments in places where credit cards don't work as well as in other communities." Leonoff told the GPWA, "We will look to create a buffet of payment options for consumers."
For affiliates, the move might give some webmasters the ability or the confidence to work with sites from which they previously may have stayed away.
"Affiliates need to make decisions about who they're comfortable working with and where they're comfortable sending their traffic," Leonoff said. "Our ability to work with 100 percent of the market puts us in a place to be the right company for affiliates."
According to a press release following the announced acquisition, Optimal Payments intends to augment its senior management team with Skrill executives. The deal is still subject to the satisfaction of a number of conditions, including Optimal Payments' shareholder and regulatory approvals.