- The "Mad Money" host analyzes a largely ignored merger in the payment processing space.
- Vantiv's announced $9.94 billion purchase of Worldpay deserves more attention, as Vantiv will effectively go from a domestic player to an international giant overnight, Cramer says.
- With the market laser-focused on Washington, Cramer argues investors are missing key deals that often go hand-in-hand with buying opportunities.
If it is not as big as the Amazon-Whole Foods deal, it is ignored. Jim Cramer has grown tired of this pattern when it comes to mergers, which are already so sparse in today's stock market.
"Consider Vantiv's recently announced purchase of Worldpay. We know that payment processors have been on fire — Visa's red-hot, Mastercard's red-hot, PayPal's red-hot, and both Vantiv and Worldpay are very much part of that bull market in process," the "Mad Money" host said. "Yet this deal, which we learned about last week, seems like it's been flying totally under the radar screen. That seems crazy to me, even as I recognize that there's been a lot of really distracting news coming out of Washington lately."
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Setting the Trump administration's troubles aside, Cramer said this overlooked deal between Vantiv, a merchant acquirer that enables retailers to accept and process electronic payments, and Worldpay, a U.K.-based company of similar ilk, is worth examining in depth.
Watch the full segment here:
What is payment processing?
When you buy something at a store using a credit card, that store sends the transaction information to a merchant acquirer like Vantiv, which then passes it along to the card network provider, which gives it to the issuing bank, which certifies the transaction and pays the retailer.
The credit card network — Mastercard, for example — gets a small percentage of every transaction and uses that to pay itself and the merchant acquirer. Factoring in all of the fees collected when a credit card is swiped, those acquirers, like Vantiv, get 2 to 3 percent of the total transaction.
"In short, a lot of the value in payment processing comes from having relationships with the retailers," Cramer said.
Vantiv is a top dog in the business of payment processing, boasting 19 percent market share based on purchase volume. It is second only to First Data, which has 20 percent market share.
But Vantiv is totally U.S.-based, whereas Worldpay is an international merchant acquirer, processing digital and in-store payments in 146 countries. Its business is concentrated most in the United Kingdom, where it processes 41 percent of all credit card transactions.
Though Vantiv's stock initially dipped on news of the merger, it later pared its losses as investors realized that the combination could be great for business.
"Why? For starters, Vantiv is about to go from a domestic payments play to a worldwide titan overnight," Cramer said. "Thanks to the Worldpay acquisition they're going to get a huge international footprint, especially in Europe."
With European economies picking up and the European Union issuing a new directive to help expand the payments system, Cramer said this merger is good news for Vantiv.
Being an international player, Worldpay will also help Vantiv out of the rut that big-box U.S. retailers are in because of e-commerce giants like Amazon. The weakness reflected on Vantiv's earnings, but with Worldpay, the company will diversify.
Worldpay also has a broader digital presence than Vantiv, with 34 percent of its business online as opposed to Vantiv's 10 to 15 percent.
"This is huge because Vantiv has tons of big retailers as clients who are looking for global e-commerce capabilities. By acquiring Worldpay, that's exactly what Vantiv will be able to give them," the "Mad Money" host said.
Vantiv can also help Worldpay. Worldpay's U.S. business has been somewhat weak because the company was late in embracing chip readers, which are growing in popularity stateside.
"In short, Vantiv should be able to get a lot more mileage out of Worldpay's neglected American business," Cramer said.
While Cramer took care to highlight this merger, in reality, the payments industry is riding a much bigger wave of consolidation.
Take Mastercard's $920 million purchase of most of Vocalink, First Data's $750 million purchase of CardConnect, Vantiv's earlier purchase of Paymetric or JPMorgan's takeover frenzy as just some examples.
"Here's the bottom line: With so much attention devoted to what's happening in Congress or this bombshell story with Fredo Trump — you broke my heart, Fredo — we're barely, barely, barely noticing dynamite M&A activity like Vantiv's proposed purchase of Worldpay," Cramer said. "This is the biggest deal in the payments space since the Great Recession and I think it's terrific, particularly with the stock trading at just 17 times earnings. Forget Fredo, buy some Vantiv."
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