Israeli Payments Startup Payoneer to Go Public in Wall Street Merger

The company expects growth to accelerate to 25% this year ■ SPAC deal values Payoneer at $3.3 billion

Omri Zerachovitz
Omri Zerachovitz
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Payoneer's Scott Galit and Keren Levy.
Payoneer's Scott Galit and Keren Levy.Credit: Tomi Harpaz
Omri Zerachovitz
Omri Zerachovitz

Payoneer, an Israeli online payments company, said on Wednesday that it would become a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange valued at $3.3 billion by merging with the special purpose acquisition company FTAC Olympus Acquisition Corp.

As part of the merger, FTAC Olympus will pay $750 million to Payoneer and another $300 million will be raised through a private placement with investors including Wellington Management, Dragoneer Investment Group, Fidelity and Franklin Templeton. That will supply the newly merged company with $450 million in cash to be used to buy shares from Payoneer stockholders.

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FTAC Olympus, a shell company formed for the purpose of merging with an existing company, is led by Betsy Z. Cohen. SPACs such as Olympus have emerged in recent months as a lower-cost, faster way for companies to go public, compared with a traditional initial public offering.

Payoneer was founded about 15 years ago by Yuval Tal, who left the company recently to set up a venture capital fund called Team8 Fintech. Today, the company is led by CEO Scott Galit and Keren Levy, the head of research and development in Israel. Payoneer’s platform allows e-commerce companies to send and receive money globally.

“Technology is transforming commerce globally, bringing down borders and making it possible for entrepreneurs from all over the world to build a digital business,” Galit said in a statement. “This new way of doing business requires a global financial platform built for the digital age.

Last year, the company processed more than $44 billion in payments and expects the level to reach $85 billion annually within the next two years. It operates in 190 countries and counts 5 million customers. The company employs 1,800 people, 800 of them in Israel.

Payoneer generates revenue by taking a fee on each transaction. Last year, it disclosed Wednesday, its revenues increased by only 9%, to $346 million, but in 2019 it soared 22%. For 2021, Payoneer is expecting revenue to grow 28%, to $432 million.

The company posted an operating loss last year of $18 million, a figure it expects to widen to $50 million in 2021. However, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization stand at an impressive 20%.

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