After a flurry of activity in the past year and a half to establish itself as a global payments processor, EVO Payments International LLC plans to move into the Spanish market with a proposed acquisition of Banco Popular's merchant acquiring business.

EVO Payments will acquire a controlling interest in the Madrid-based bank's acquiring business, as well as enter a 10-year marketing alliance in which the bank will refer its merchant customers to the joint venture, the New York-based processor and merchant acquirer announced Dec. 28.

EVO Payments expects the 70 million euro ($92.6 million U.S.) transaction to be completed in about six months.

Banco Popular currently serves nearly 150,000 merchants through approximately 2,500 branches and a commercial banking network representing approximately a 10% market share in Spain, the companies stated in a press release. The bank has more than 8 million clients worldwide, and is the fifth largest in Spain in terms of assets and client deposits at 161.1 billion euros ($213.3 billion U.S.).

"This joint venture fits very well with our strategic objective of expanding our global reach as we introduce our proven sales and related solutions in support of our valued partners," James G. Kelly, CEO of EVO Payments, says in the release.

Kelly is completing his first year as CEO of EVO Payments, coming to the independent sales organization after handling international payments in his former job at Global Payments Inc.
For Banco Popular, the joint venture fits in with its current business plan, Banco general manager Angel Rivera says.

"This is not the first time we have built a strategic alliance in banking businesses, and it will not be the last," Rivera adds. "We have done it before, with Alliance [Financial Group] or [French bank] Credit Mutuel, and we will continue to associate with prominent partners such as EVO Payments."