Cross border payments leader Small World acquired by Equistone

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Nigel Frith
Nigel Frith
Former Global General Manager
Nigel was the Global General Manager at FXcompared. Nigel has a background in marketing for businesses and consumers as well working in a variety of online financial services roles. Read more
  • Small World Financial Services set to be bought by Equistone Partners Europe
  • Small World revenues currently exceed £110m

Leading UK-headquartered international money transfers firm Small World Financial Services is to be acquired by Equistone Partners Europe, a prominent European equity investor, after a deal was inked this week granting the latter a majority stake in the remittance company.

Small World’s existing investors, which include MMC Ventures and FPE Capital, will under the terms of the agreement sell their shares in the firm to Equistone, with the company’s management reinvesting theirs for a minority stake.

The financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed and, as Small World is regulated in a multitude of countries, finalisation of the transaction is pending regulatory approvals from each of them.

Small World, which was founded by CEO Nick Day in 2005, has grown to boast 80 branches worldwide and allows its customers to use its high-tech platform to make cross border payments through its physical repertoire of branches and its 6,000-plus send-side agents. Over the last 13 years, the firm has crafted a comprehensive infrastructure for international money transfers. Customers have access to cash collection via a globe-straddling banking network as well as rapid direct-to-account payments and easy loading of mobile wallets.

Small World has always placed considerable emphasis on regulatory compliance and, with its multi-channel technology and carefully nurtured relationships with partner banks, delivers a rapid, reliable service to its customers at highly competitive rates. The firm now has millions of customers across the world and employs around 680 staff in 16 countries. Revenues now exceed £110m.

Describing Small World as a well-positioned business that has grown strongly under the leadership of its talented and seasoned management team, Equistone Partner Andrew Bracken welcomed the acquisition in a global environment where demand for cross border payments was rising rapidly. He said that Small World’s “high-quality customer proposition and scalable business model” place it on course for further impressive growth.

Small World CEO Nick Day said:

“Our partnership with Equistone will help accelerate the achievement of our goals and provide the funding to drive growth. We believe we are well-positioned to grow and are continuing to extend our multi-channel service proposition into new territories, as well as pursuing bolt-on acquisitions and launching new payment corridors. Our innovative new app will also support the increasingly digitalised needs of our customers through convenient alternative payment solutions. We look forward to working closely with the Equistone team.”

The investment was led by Andrew Bracken, Richard Briault and Dominic Geer from Equistone Partners Europe. The equity investor was advised throughout the acquisition by a series of experts, including guidance on Merger and Acquisitions from Quayle Munro, on legal issues from Travers Smith, on financial due diligence by EY (formerly Ernst & Young), on regulation from Huntswood, on tax from PwC, on IT due diligence by UX Fabric and on insurance from Marsh.

For its part, Small World Financial Services was advised throughout the acquisition process on financial issues by Canaccord Genuity and on legal matters by Charles Russell Spechlys.


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