By Omar Mohammed
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s leading telecom firm Safaricom <SCOM.NR> and South Africa’s Vodacom <VODJ.J> said on Monday that they had completed the acquisition of popular mobile money platform M-Pesa from Britain’s Vodafone <VOD.L>.
“The transaction… will accelerate M-Pesa’s growth in Africa by giving both Vodacom and Safaricom full control of the M-Pesa brand, product development and support services as well as the opportunity to expand M-Pesa into new African markets,” they said in a statement.
The companies did not disclose the value of the transaction, which was first announced in 2019 and completed via a newly-created joint venture, but last year Safaricom’s then chief executive Bob Collymore said the deal could be worth about $13 million.
M-Pesa, launched in Kenya more than a decade ago, has evolved from a basic mobile money transfer application into a fully-fledged financial service platform, offering loans and savings in partnership with local banks, plus merchant payment services.
It has grown to become the largest payments platform in Africa, with 40 million users and processes over a billion transactions every month, according to Safaricom and Vodacom’s joint statement.
It is now available for subscribers in Kenya, Tanzania, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique and Egypt.
“This is a significant milestone for Vodacom as it will accelerate our financial services aspirations in Africa,” said Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO.
“Our joint venture will allow Vodacom and Safaricom to drive the next generation of the M-pesa platform – an intelligent, cloud-based platform for the smartphone age.”
(Reporting by Omar Mohammed, additional reporting by Emma Rumney in Johannesberg; editing by George Obulutsa)