Mastercard to Acquire Ekata

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Mastercard has announced its intention to acquire Seattle-based digital identity verification company Ekata in a deal valued at $850m.

The payment processor publicized the planned purchase on Monday morning and said that they expect to close the deal within the next six months.

Ekata works with over 2,000 companies worldwide to help them combat fraud and counts among its clients Sage, American Airlines, Equifax, and Lyft. It was founded in July 2019 when Seattle-based background checking company Whitepages split into two separate companies—Whitepages and Ekata.

Using its proprietary Ekata Identity Engine, the company draws insights from two datasets—the Ekata Identity Graph and the Ekata Identity Network. The former aggregates more than a billion identities using data licensed from vetted global data providers, while the latter confirms that the digital identity elements are valid and correctly linked.

Mastercard's president of cyber and intelligence solutions, Ajay Bhalla, said that the planned deal made sense in a post-pandemic world where more people are relying on digital technology. 

"The shift to a more digital world requires real solutions to secure every transaction and instill trust in every interaction," said Bhalla.

"With the addition of Ekata, we will advance our identity capabilities and create a safer, seamless way for consumers to prove who they say they are in the new digital economy."

The company said that with Ekata's verification data, machine learning technology, and global experience, Mastercard will be able to deliver a more comprehensive identity service that can power customers' decision-making needs in real time. 

Ekata's chief executive officer, Rob Eleveld, hinted that Mastercard users could enjoy a smoother customer experience following the planned acquisition.

“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 Eleveld.

"The right identity verification solutions enable inclusive and frictionless experiences while, at the same time, ensuring customer privacy, control and security. Becoming part of the Mastercard Identity family ensures a broader, collective approach to meeting the growing demands of the digital economy.”

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