Advent International Makes Big Deal in Argentina’s Mobile Payments Market

January 25, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

A major shakeup recently struck the mobile payments market in Argentina, thanks in large part to a move from Advent International, a private equity firm. Prisma Medios de Pago, Argentina’s single largest merchant firm, sold a controlling interest—51 percent of its stock—to Advent International for a hefty $1.42 billion.

The Prisma stake sold had previously been owned by a group comprised of Visa International and 14 separate Argentinian banks. The company’s existing shareholders, reports note, were hanging onto their shares, though effectively, Advent is now in charge. Prisma represents a major portion of Argentina’s mobile payments presence, as it offers several related services including the Decidir e-commerce gateway, the LaPOS point-of-sale system, and transaction processing services among several others.

Prisma also is the leading payments processor in the country, as well as the second largest ATM operator. It offers several other services,including a direct mobile payments system, a peer-to-peer platform, and quick response (QR) code operations.

Basically, from the reports listed, Advent now controls a major portion of the Argentinian mobile payments market. That may not sound like much, but South America is regarded on at least some fronts as a major developing market for mobile payments, and Advent may have managed to land a healthy slug of it for comparatively cheap. Mobile technology has tended to do well in South America from some reports, owing in large part to comparatively slim population densities, especially outside the major cities. So in turn, mobile payments and e-commerce can help bring the developed world to the less-developed.

Only time will tell if this was a smart buy for Advent, but it certainly looks like this could be a significant new development.