Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised Vodacom in connection with its joint venture with Safaricom. The JV was formed for the purpose of acquiring the M-Pesa brand, product development and support services from Vodafone.
M-Pesa is Africa's largest payments platform with some 40-million users in Kenya, Tanzania, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique and Egypt and is said to process over a billion transactions every month.
A key aim of the joint venture is to 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.
The Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by London corporate partner Oliver Stacey and included associates Peter Critchley and Zahra Sachedina.
Oliver Stacey commented: “This is an exciting transaction for all parties involved. The mobile payments sector in Africa continues to grow rapidly, enabling millions of people on the continent to access vital commercial and personal financial services, and this deal will allow M-Pesa to continue to help drive this growth.”
Norton Rose Fulbright has extensive experience in advising clients on a wide range of legal and regulatory issues in the global payments sector in both emerging and developed markets. The firm’s payments practice offers a multi-disciplinary team comprised not only of lawyers, but also risk and compliance advisors, technology consultants and government relations professionals who advise on transactional and project work, the development and launch of innovative new payments products and services, investments and acquisitions in the payments sector, as well as the implementation of and compliance with legislation and regulation.
The firm has advised on several of the largest transactions in the African payments sector, including Ethos’ R700 million investment into emerging market FinTech provider Channel VAS; the acquisitions of Egyptian mobile top-up business Fawry and pan-African digital carrier billing business TPAY Mobile; and the funding of Nigeria’s largest mobile payment company, Paga.