Max buys CreditGuard from SafeCharge for NIS 70m

Ron Fainaro

Max also announced an extensive cooperation agreement with international payments company Nuvei.

Credit card company Max (formerly Leumi Card) announced today that it had signed a deal to acquire control of CreditGuard from SafeCharge, its current owner. The price is estimated at NIS 70 million.

Max also announced an "extensive cooperation agreement with international payments company Nuvei" in which "Max's business customers will be able to use Nuvei's clearance services in Europe and the US. International customers receiving clearance services from Nuvei will be able to connect to Max's clearance services in Israel." Completion of the acquisition of CreditGuard is contingent on obtaining regulatory approval.

Following these developments, Max announced today, "Max will now become a unique group in the local market that provides advanced holistic payment services to any business of any size, on a global level."

Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) and Azrieli Group Ltd. (TASE: AZRG), the previous owners of Max, one of three credit card companies in Israel, sold it last year to investment fund Warburg Pincus, the new controlling shareholder in Max. Warburg Pincus recruited Menorah Mivtachim, Clal Insurance, and Allied as minority shareholders.

While Bank Leumi was selling Max, Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) was relinquishing Isracard. Bank Leumi recently held an offering for Isracard, after deciding to distribute its remaining 33% holding in the company to the bank's shareholders as a dividend in kind. In addition to the two independent credit card companies, a third, ICC-Cal, remained under the ownership of Israel Discount Bank and First International Bank of Israel.

Max EVP business development and strategy Ohad Maimon said, "Israel is at the dawn of a revolution in the payments sector. This requires businesses, large and small, to make thorough preparations and upgrade their online and offline capabilities, and to adjust their systems to the EMV standard according to the roadmap outlined by the Bank of Israel. CreditGuard's capabilities and technology will enable businesses to obtain a range of safe and advanced digital payment services in every possible sales channel, and will expand the ability of businesses to receive payments. The connection with Nuvei will also enable us to create global payments solutions for our businesses."

CreditGuard was founded in 1998. According to the company's website, it provides payment clearance solutions and credit card adjustments for thousands of businesses in Israel, including both large enterprises and small businesses. Nuvei is a "community of experts in the payments field that provides a complete envelope of payment solutions for large, small, and medium businesses and distribution partners," according to Max's announcement.

Max CEO is Ron Fainaro

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 9, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

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