MILAN (Reuters) – Italian utility Enel SpA has agreed to buy 50% of Italy’s Mooney to take joint control of the payments firm with Intesa Sanpaolo SpA and create a European-based fintech group.
Under the deal, which values Mooney at 1.385 billion euros ($1.6 billion), Enel and Intesa will buy out the 70% stake held by a company controlled by private equity CVC Capital Partners. Intesa already owns 30% of Mooney through its Banca 5 unit.
Enel will pay between 334 million and 361 million euros for its part of the stake while Intesa will pay between 88 million and 94 million euros for the remaining 20%, the companies said on Thursday.
When the deal is complete, at the end of the second quarter next year, Enel will sell its own financial service business in Italy to Mooney for 140 million euros, building scale in an industry that has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Enel last year became the first of Europe’s big utilities to launch new digital banking services.
It sees payment and open banking services such as wealth management and insurance as a new opportunity for growth as it ramps up digitalization across its networks and businesses.
“… digital payments (are) being increasingly utilized on power bills as well as on advanced, ‘beyond commodity’ services, such as electric mobility”, Enel Chief Executive Francesco Starace said.
Mooney, which last year had sales of 153 million euros, has about 20 million customers and processes some 20% of all Enel electricity bills. It also has a stake in a digital platform providing more than 2 million consumers with mobility services.
Intesa Sanpaolo said Mooney would drive down the cost-to-serve for customers less interested in visiting its branches and would help it acquire new clients.
Italy’s biggest bank sees Mooney as a strategic asset to help steer its branches towards higher-margin services like wealth management and insurance.
($1 = 0.8826 euro)
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes and Elisa Anzolin; editing by Jonathan Oatis)