MFS Africa Acquires Baxi
MFS Africa, the largest fintech interoperability hub in Africa acquires Baxi In Nigeria.
MFS Africa has signed an agreement to acquire Capricorn Digital, one of Nigeria’s largest digital solutions and distribution companies with a 90,000-strong agent network across the country, for an undisclosed amount.
MFS Africa was founded in 2009 by Dare Okoudjou, a Beninese national, while Nigeria-born Abudu started Capricorn in 2014, with Folu Majekodunmi. The acquisition creates a larger, more versatile company that fuses interoperability between money operators and a super-agent network reaching the mass market.
MFS Africa connects banks, telcos, and money transfer operators across over 35 countries via a single integration point. Paga, MTN mobile money, Ecobank, and Safaricom are among the operators integrated on the hub, with an estimated 320 million mobile money customers interacting across various digital wallets without transaction fees associated with switching platforms.
Capricorn, under its SME-focused brand, Baxi, operates an ecosystem of digital payment services. Its solution is built to help Nigerians with everyday payment needs; including utility bill payments, airtime purchases, pay-TV and data subscriptions, withdrawals, and money transfers. The company delivers these services through its retail network of agents and merchants in some of the remotest locations across Nigeria, and via its BaxiBox POS, BaxiPay, Baxi MPoS Device, and BaxiRIMS products.
According to reports, the 100% cash acquisition, MFS Africa’s third in five years, sees the pan-African payments giant expand into Africa’s largest economy, where its presence to date has been limited given the country’s small number of mobile wallets. Capricorn will be called MFS Africa but its core product, Baxi, retains its name.
“We’re building the foremost, currency-agnostic, real-time hub for payments on the continent, to enable people transfer money the way they can call each other. The more we spoke with Dee, the more we realized what we could achieve with a full acquisition instead of being only investors in which case there could be misaligned incentives.” Okoudjou stated.
“In other markets, one or two partnerships with mobile money operators could see us reach 60% of digital payment users in the country,” he says. “However, mobile money isn’t that widely adopted in Nigeria. Instead, agent networks such as Capricorn’s have grown rapidly,” Okoudjou stated.
“It’s a good time to partner with a company that brings a real pan-African presence and we see synergies across our operations. They offer a wide range of value-added products and services like cross-border payments while we have access to SMEs in Nigeria, one of the biggest markets in Africa. We believe that we’ve barely scratched the market’s potential. The deal brings many things that allow us to grow very quickly,” Abudu noted.
“We’ve been able to build a large business with relatively small capital but now we want to be able to compete, not just in Nigeria but also across Africa. The deal with MFS Africa gives us leverage to take Baxi and the model that’s been so successful in Nigeria to other African countries,” Abudu added.