The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared Mastercard's £700 million acquisition of Vocalink after the card giant promised to take steps to address the watchdog's concerns.
In January, the CMA announced that Mastercard's proposed acquisition of VocaLink was facing an in-depth investigation unless the companies could address its competition worries over the deal.
But this has been headed off thanks to a promise to open up connectivity to the Link ATM network for alternative providers, transfer or licence the intellectual property rights relating to the Link Lis5 messaging standard, and contribute to member switching costs.
With the CMA satisfied, the acquisition is expected to close within weeks, providing a windfall for Vocalink's 18 bank and building society owners.
The CMA had feared that the acquisition would give MasterCard too much of an advantage when it comes to bidding for contracts in the provision of infrastructure services to Link, which accounts for 70,000 cash machines across the UK and Europe
The CMA deems that VocaLink and MasterCard are two of just three credible providers of the hardware, software and secure telecommunications networks for the Link ATMs - the third being Visa.
Michael Miebach, chief product officer, Mastercard, says: "We believe the future of payments will be defined by choice. Adding bank account-based payments alongside our card network extends what we can do and how we can do it. Together, we’ll be one partner to meet all payment needs of businesses, governments and consumers."