COMPLETE ACQUISITION

Safaricom, Vodacom acquire M-Pesa from Britain's Vodafone

The joint venture to acquire the rights from Britain’s Vodafone started in 2019.

In Summary

• The Sh1.3 billion transaction will let both purchasers make significant savings in royalties paid to Vodafone and expand the service to new African markets.

• Vodacom is a South African mobile communications company which is majority-owned by Vodafone (60.5%), one of the world's largest communications companies by revenue. 

Customers queue outside an M-Pesa shop in Nairobi
Customers queue outside an M-Pesa shop in Nairobi

Safaricom and Vodacom on Monday announced their complete acquisition of the M-Pesa brand, product development and support services from Vodafone through a newly-created joint venture.

The Telecoms started a joint venture to acquire the intellectual property rights to M-Pesa mobile financial services platform from Britain’s Vodafone in 2019.

The Sh1.3 billion transaction will let both purchasers make significant savings in royalties paid to Vodafone and expand the service to new African markets, this was according to ex- Safaricom’s CEO the late Bob Collymore.

 

“This is a significant milestone for Vodacom as it will accelerate our financial services aspirations in Africa. Our joint venture will allow Vodacom and Safaricom to drive the next generation of the M-Pesa platform – an intelligent, cloud-based platform for the smartphone age," Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO, said in a statement.

"It will also help us to promote greater financial inclusion and help bridge the digital divide within the communities in which we operate.”

 

Vodacom is a South African mobile communications company which is majority-owned by Vodafone (60.5%), one of the world's largest communications companies by revenue. 

“For Safaricom, we’re excited that the management, support and development of the M-Pesa platform have now been relocated to Kenya, where the journey to transform the world of mobile payments began 13 years ago," Michael Joseph, outgoing Safaricom CEO said.

"This new partnership with Vodacom will allow us to consolidate our platform development, synchronise more closely our product road maps, and improve our operational capabilities into a single, fully converged Centre of Excellence.”

Nick Read, Vodafone Group’s CEO, said: “M-Pesa is hugely successful and enables millions of unbanked people in Africa to transfer money, pay bills and trade."

He said M-Pesa benefits communities and helps create a multitude of small and micro-business ventures.

"However, with the rapid increase in smartphone penetration, the evolution into financial services and the potential for geographical expansion, we believe the next step in M-PESA’s African growth will be more effectively overseen by Vodacom and Safaricom,” Read said.

M-Pesa is the largest payment platform on the African continent with 40 million users and processes over a billion transactions every month.

It is operational in Kenya, Tanzania, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique and Egypt.

Currently, around 25 per cent of all M-Pesa customers have access to a smartphone – a figure that is growing by 10 per cent every year.

The disposal of the M-Pesa brand, support and product development services to Vodacom and Safaricom is broadly financially neutral for Vodafone Group.