As part of the deal, Global Blue will get an investment of around $1bn from Far Point Acquisition and new investors, valuing the shopping tax refund firm at about $2.6bn


Far Point Acquisition announces merger with shopping tax refund firm Global Blue. (Credit: mohamed Hassan from Pixabay)

Far Point Acquisition has agreed to merge with Global Blue, a Switzerland-based shopping tax refund firm owned by Silver Lake and other investors.

Through the merger, the Swiss tax-free shopping and payment solutions provider will become a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Far Point Acquisition is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), co-sponsored by Third Point and Thomas Farley, a former president of NYSE.

As part of the deal, Global Blue will get an investment of around $1bn from the SPAC and new investors, valuing the company at about $2.6bn.

The new investors, led by Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services Group and Third Point, have committed to injecting a total of $350m in the Swiss shopping tax refund firm via a private placement.

Global Blue’s shareholders are expected to be paid about $967m in cash as part of the deal if there are no redemptions by the public shareholders of Far Point Acquisition.

The Swiss company serves as a technology and payments partner to global merchants, offering tax-free shopping technology solutions and added-value payment solutions.

The shopping tax refund firm is said to cater to more than 300,000 merchant stores to help international shoppers claim VAT refunds in 43 countries. It also partners with over 50 merchant acquirers to offer payment solutions to international travellers at more than 150,000 points of interaction across 34 countries.

In its last fiscal year that ended in March 2019, the Swiss firm claims to have processed 64 million transactions for 29 million international shoppers.

Global Blue CEO Jacques Stern said: “In recent years, we have built a true leader in our industry, powered by a cutting-edge integrated technology platform.

“We strongly believe that continued investment in innovation will bring value to all our partners and customers, and we look forward to accelerating our strategic collaboration with Ant Financial as a showcase of such innovation.”

Stakeholders of the shopping tax refund firm to be listed on NYSE

The deal is expected to see Global Blue’s existing shareholders hold a 42% stake in the merged entity while Far Point Acquisition’s public shareholders will have a 34% stake.

Anchor equity investors such as Third Point and Ant Financial Services will own a combined stake of 19%, and the remaining 6% stake in the NYSE-listed shopping tax refund company will be held by the sponsors of Far Point Acquisition.

Thomas Farley said: “Global Blue is the clear market leader in the attractive and growing Tax Free Shopping ecosystem worldwide.

“The company has achieved remarkable progress in digitalization, geographic expansion and strategic value creation under Jacques’ leadership and the stewardship of its existing shareholders, including controlling shareholder Silver Lake, whose principals I have known personally and professionally for years.”

Expected to be wrapped up during the second quarter of this year, the deal is subject to approval by the SPAC’s stockholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.