Optimal Payments to buy European digital payments firm Skrill Group for $1.2 bn

British online and mobile payment processing company Optimal Payments Plc yesterday agreed to buy European digital payments company Skrill Group in a €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) cash-and-stock deal.

Optimal is buying Sentinel Topco Ltd and its subsidiaries, known as Skrill Group, from Sentinel Group Holdings, which is owned by funds managed by private equity firm CVC Capital, Investcorp Technology Partners and other shareholders.

Under the deal Optimal will pay €720 million in cash and issue 37.5 million new shares to Skrill shareholders, valued at €135 million, giving Sentinel Group Holdings a 7.9 per cent stake in the enlarged company.

Including net debt at Skrill of €256 million, Optimal said the total price being paid for Skrill is €1.1 billion.

Optimal said it would fund the deal through cash, new debt facilities and a fully underwritten rights issue for about £450 million ($670 million).

London-based Skrill is one of Europe's leading providers of digital payment solutions to the online industry with particular focus on gambling, gaming and digital media.

Founded in 2001, Skrill is one of Europe's largest online payment systems and among the world's largest independent digital wallet providers with over 40 million account holders and 165,000 merchants using its payment gateway solution.

The Skrill Digital Wallet enables any customer to make online payments, as well as to send and receive money online. In addition, Skrill Paysafecard cash vouchers provide a way to pay online to over 2 million customers in Europe.