Mastercard to buy digital ID verification firm Ekata in $850 million deal

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FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Mastercard Inc. credit cards are displayed in this picture illustration

(Reuters) -Mastercard Inc said on Monday it had agreed to buy digital identity verification company Ekata in a deal valued at $850 million, as the global payments processor bets on a boom in demand for companies in the digital security space.

Ekata's products allow businesses to separate fraudsters from legitimate customers during digital interactions like opening an online account or making digital payments. It operates in three industries: e-commerce, payments and financial services, according to its website.

"The acceleration of online transactions has thrust global digital identity verification to the forefront as one of the biggest opportunities to build digital trust and combat global fraud," said Rob Eleveld, chief executive officer of Ekata, in a statement.

Seattle-headquartered Ekata counts more than 2,000 companies as its partners, including credit reporting company Equifax Inc and software firm Intuit Inc, its website showed.

Its products, which include Ekata Identity Graph and Ekata Identity Network, allow companies to combat online fraud, it said.

In February, Ekata said its revenue had surged in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of e-commerce, boosting demand for services to safeguard against cyber fraud.

Ekata added 300 new customers last year, including food and grocery-delivery startup Postmates, which was acquired by Uber Technologies last year. (https://bwnews.pr/32qaUG7)

The payments processor said the deal is expected to close in the next six months, adding that it does not expect the deal to be a drag on its business for more than two years.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant and Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Amy Caren Daniel)