Bristol-based ICON Corporate Finance lead groundbreaking Africa fintech deal

Monica Shupkai-Simmons

Tech-focused investment bank, Bristol-based ICON Corporate Finance, has advised one of the most significant fintech transactions of its type in recent years. In a landmark deal, ICON acted as lead advisor in the sale of African digital payments provider Beyonic Inc to pan-African cross-border payments platform MSF Africa.

The importance of the transaction lies in its potential to accelerate the development of Africa’s ‘mobile money’ economy, as fintech solutions bring growth to the region’s economies.

ICON played a key role in putting the deal together, sourcing potential investors and acquirers, advising on the deal terms and co-ordinating due diligence related to the sale. Mobile money, which accounts for up to 54% of African economic activity, enables African individuals and enterprises to transact financially outside of traditional banking infrastructure; it empowers the unbanked.

ICON CEO and Founder, Alan Bristow, commented: “We are delighted to have been at the forefront of this cutting-edge transaction that brings financial inclusion and greater access to digital transactions to countries in Africa.”

Alan Bristow added: “The deal shines a spotlight on Africa’s vibrant fintech industry. With 66% of its population unbanked, and with the world’s youngest workforce, mobile money transactions in Africa are the highest in the world.

“Sub-Saharan Africa now leads the world in mobile money, leapfrogging the legacy systems used for payments in the West to account for almost 10% of GDP. As a sector, fintech is expected to contribute USD 150bn to Africa’s GDP by 2022. It’s an area that we fully expect to grow, and as a result, we anticipate working on many similar deals in the near future.”

Beyonic focuses on merchant services for SME and NGO clients, combined with MSF Africa’s broad digital payments network across the region will connect Africa to partners around the world and enable global partners to access African payments.

Monica Shupkai-Simmons, Africa-expert and Director of Tech Investment Bank at ICON, who handled the Beyonics deal, added: “Global financial connectivity to Africa’s micro and SME sector has never been more important. This merger accelerates and broadens the digital payments space in Africa, facilitating transactions with Africa and within.”