First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE’s largest lender by assets, has agreed to sell a 60% ownership in its payments business Magnati to Brookfield Business Partners, a New York-based investment firm, for $1.15 billion.
The deal comes after Magnati was spun out as a wholly owned subsidiary in April of last year. The lender stated in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange on Monday that it will keep a 40% ownership in Magnati and will continue its engagement with the company through a long-term relationship arrangement.
“Combined with Brookfield’s regional and worldwide reach, FAB’s knowledge and relationships will offer a platform for Magnati to attract new regional and global partners while setting a new standard for innovation and delivery in the payments industry,” the bank said.
Following the coronavirus pandemic, demand for digital payments has increased as more people use online banking services to transfer money and pay for e-commerce transactions.
According to Statista, global digital payments are predicted to reach $8.26 trillion by 2024, up from $4.4 trillion in 2020.
Brookfield Business Partners is a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, which manages $690 billion in assets globally and is listed on the New York and Toronto stock markets.
“This announcement is a significant milestone in our long-term strategy to seek strategic alliances to accelerate growth in the payments sector,” said Hana Al Rostamani, FAB’s group chief executive. “Magnati’s development in a fast-paced and dynamic industry will be accelerated by our cooperation agreement with Brookfield, providing broader value for all stakeholders.”
The deal is pending final regulatory approval from the UAE Central Bank. According to the lender, the proceeds from the sale will be utilized to fund FAB’s expansion and transformation initiatives.
“The payments industry is seeing unprecedented expansion, offering new opportunities for flexible, forward-thinking payment platforms,” said Brookfield managing director Jad Ellawn. “Magnati is in a great position to gain from this change.”
Magnati will take advantage of the region’s biggest payment trends, such as the expansion of e-commerce and digital transformation, according to the bank.
FAB announced a 19% increase in earnings for 2021, owing to improved net fee and commission income as well as investment gains.