Pine Labs, a Mastercard-backed Indian payments startup, is considering to buy out the Asian business of the doomed fintech giant Wirecard.
Citing three anonymous internal sources, local news outlet Economic Times reported that inquiries about the sale of Wirecard’s division were made by at least four companies including Hitachi Payments and Atos-backed Worldline Technology, PineLabs being in the forefront.
“Multiple other players have also expressed interest in the company’s assets in the region,” one of the sources said. “The legality of the matter still has to be seen.”
This came as the German fintech company involved in the massive scandal with the missing €1.9 billion ($2.1 billion) in cash from its bank accounts, leading to the resignation and arrest of its long-running CEO Marcus Braun.
Multiple jurisdictions including authorities in Germany, Singapore, and the Philippines are now running investigation against the company.
Wirecard’s Asia operation is headquartered in Singapore and has around 20,000 merchants in India, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Australia, and Malaysia markets.
The report also detailed that Wirecard partnered with Pine Labs before for its India business, but the extent of that is clear.
With the ongoing litigation, the fintech might lose its partners in the region before the buyout is finalized.
“The discussion is still in very early stages and it’s obviously challenging as there is an ongoing litigation against the company,” a source of the publication stated. “There is also concern that Wirecard may lose its customers during any process of migration due to these proceedings.”
Recently, Grab, a Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant, cut its ties with Wirecard.
Can a new owner restore the trust?
Along with the Asian business, Wirecard North America is also seeking buyers and is seeing interests from payment groups.
Meanwhile, following the unveiling of the missing cash, the UK’s regulatory authority flagged Wirecard’s operations in the country, however, it also lifted the restriction within a few days resuming eMoney & Payments Services.