US fintech company Fiserv looks set to acquire troubled UK mobile payments and digital banking pioneer Monitise for £70 million.

The transaction is subject to shareholder approval, though the Monetise board recommended stakeholders accept the “fair and reasonable” offer.

US-headquartered Fiserv operates a range of business units covering payments, banking and other financial services.

In a statement, Fiserve president and CEO Jeff Yabuki said: “Monitise has been a global pioneer and innovator in digital banking for more than a decade. Combining its talented associates and advanced technologies with leading digital solutions from Fiserv will expand our clients’ ability to provide differentiated experiences to their customers.”

Lee Cameron, CEO of Monitise, added: “We are proud of the talented people and innovative technology solutions across the Monitise businesses. Fiserv is well positioned to carry this business forward given its strength in digital banking and extensive client network.”

Fall from grace
Monitise – which at one point counted Visa as a 14 per cent shareholder – was one of the first European companies to develop mobile payment technologies for banks and vendors. In one of a number of high-profile contracts signed in its early years, during 2011 it inked a deal with Visa to jointly develop its mobile payment service.

However, since its peak in 2014, Monitise’s share price plummeted by 96 per cent as the company posted a series of losses and investors began to lose faith. In 2015 the company lost both its CEO and CFO in the space of three months.

During March 2016, under Cameron’s leadership, the company tried to sell part of its business, but the plan was scrapped three months later.

In fiscal 2016 – its latest reported annual results, covering the year to end-March 2016 – it recorded a pre-tax loss of £243.1 million and saw its headcount fall by 20 per cent. In H1 2017 – the six months to end-December 2016 – Monitise’s pre-tax loss was cut to £7.7 million, but staff numbers continued to dwindle with a 16 per cent reduction.