Mastercard is to invest US$300mln in Network International ahead of its float as the land grab among payments suppliers gathers pace.
The credit card giant will invest the funds at the same price as investors in the IPO, but its holding will be capped at 9.99%, which implies a value of US$3bn on the Middle East and Africa-focused Network.
Founded 25 years ago, Network posted earnings of US$152mln on revenue of US$298mln in 2018.
Payment companies have been splurging money to build market share as the switch to cards and phones from cash reaches a tipping point.
Mastercard was recently outbid by arch rival Visa for AIM-listed Earthport, which finally agreed a 37p per share /£247mln cash offer hat was more than 400% higher than the price before the two giants started bidding.
WorldPay, meanwhile. is changing hands again with FIS buying the payments group for an enterprise value of US$43bn. That comes just a year after the former RBS division merged with Vantiv.
As well as the cornerstone investment, Mastercard and Network will form a strategic partnership to increase the use of electronic payments in Africa and the Middle East.
Mastercard will pay Network an annual fee to boost adoption of digital payments in the region.
Simon Haslam, Network’s chief executive, added Mastercard had been an important partner for Network for many years and both companies were in agreement about how to expand the card payment ecosystem.
Network International is set to be London's largest IPO so far this year when it floats next month.