PARIS () – Payments company Worldline agreed on Monday to buy French peer Ingenico (INGC.PA), in a deal which the companies said would create the fourth-biggest payments company in the world and a new European champion in the sector. The takeover of Ingenico by Worldline, in which French company Atos (ATOS.PA) has a large stake, is the latest example of consolidation in the payments sector. The increasing use of smartphones for online payments has led to more competition, with mergers and acquisitions allowing companies to cut costs. The companies said the takeover deal gave Ingenico an implied equity value of 7.8 billion euros ($8.7 billion) and would be immediately accretive to earnings per share, with around 250 million euros expected in savings by 2024. The 7.8 billion euros price tag implies a premium of about 16% to Ingenico’s current market capitalization of around 6.7 billion euros. The companies said they expected the transaction, which requires regulatory approval, would be closed during the third quarter of 2020. Ingenico shareholders would receive 11 Worldline shares and 160.5 euros in cash for seven Ingenico shares, in a primary tender offer. There would also be a secondary exchange offer, with 56 Worldline shares exchanged for 29 Ingenico shares, translating into an offer price of 123.10 euros per Ingenico share. Upon closing the deal, former Worldline shareholders would own 65% of the combined entity and former Ingenico shareholders would own 35%. Worldline Chairman and CEO Gilles Grapinet would become CEO of the combined company and Ingenico Chairman Bernard Bourigeaud would become non-executive chairman. Atos said it welcomed the takeover of Ingenico and added that Atos could continue to sell down its stake in Worldline. Ingenico has long been seen as a bid target. Sources previously told that Edenred (EDEN.PA) and French bank Natixis (CNAT.PA) had both been at one point interested by Ingenico. The financial technology sector is consolidating fast, with global payments set to reach $3 trillion a year in revenue by 2023 as more people switch from cash to digital payments for online and high street sales, according to research by consulting firm McKinsey. In 2019, Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) (FIS.N) bought Worldpay for about $35 billion, while Fiserv Inc (FISV.O) bought First Data Corp for $22 billion. Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Cardinal Partners were the financial advisors to Worldline, while Goldman Sachs Paris (GS.N) and Rothschild (ROTH.PA) advised Ingenico. Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Dominique Vidalon and Edmund BlairOur Standards:The Thomson Trust Principles.