Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2011 (Revised September 2013)

Investcorp and the Moneybookers Bid

by Matthew Rhodes-Kropf and Carin-Isabel Knoop

Abstract

In January 2007, Hazem Ben-Gacem, managing director and co-head of Investcorp Technology Partners (ITP), needs to decide what to bid at an auction for Moneybookers Limited, one of the top three e-payment solution providers in Europe. However, approximately 70% of Moneybookers revenues were related to transactions from online gaming sites (down from 100% in 2002). Although the thesis was that e-commerce transactions would soon make up a much larger chunk of the company's revenues, high gaming revenue still raised some questions. Between now and when Ben-Gacem had first submitted a bid of 60 million for Moneybookers back in November 2006, the U.S. Congress had enacted the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act putting pressure on e-payment firms with gambling exposure. How would investors in ITP view this transaction? Ben-Gacem also worried about whether Moneybookers could manage the growth of its business and the evolution of regulation around monetary transactions. Moneybookers had effectively become a type of bank with deposit accounts and capital adequacy requirements and all the reporting that went along with it. But could an internet startup maintain the compliance and accounting standards necessary to handle such scrutiny? Could it succeed-and if it did, what would it be worth?

Keywords: Business Startups; Games, Gaming, and Gambling; Private Equity; Investment; Auctions; Bids and Bidding; Valuation; Europe; United States;

Citation:

Rhodes-Kropf, Matthew, and Carin-Isabel Knoop. "Investcorp and the Moneybookers Bid." Harvard Business School Case 811-013, February 2011. (Revised September 2013.)