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Mastercard's £700m takeover of VocaLink approved

Britain's competition watchdog has approved Mastercard's £700 million takeover of UK-based payment processor VocaLink, saying the companies have addressed antitrust concerns.

It follows a formal consultation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which found that the package of measures offered by the two firms was "sufficient" and no longer required an "in-depth merger investigation".

The two companies set out a number of proposals, including VocaLink making its connectivity infrastructure available to a new supplier of infrastructure services to the LINK network of cash machines.

Mastercard has also pledged to "contribute to the cost" of LINK members having to switch to a new supplier.

Now that the regulatory review has wrapped up, Mastercard said it will be working to close the deal within the next few weeks.

Mastercard's chief product officer Michael Miebach said: "Adding bank account-based payments alongside our card network extends what we can do and how we can do it.

"Together, we'll be one partner to meet all payment needs of businesses, governments and consumers."

VocaLink, which is headquartered in London, says it processes more than 90% of salaries in the UK, as well as 70% of household bills and "almost all state benefits", while its LINK network connects more than 70,000 cash machines.

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