Today, Amex announced its agreement to acquire Nipendo, an AP automation solution. Over the last few years, Amex has been moving toward building a B2B platform for payments, receivables and P2P procurement. Lately it has made significant strides in this direction; in December, Amex announced its new B2B ecosystem: Amex Business Link. In that vein, Nipendo is the latest in a series of acquisitions and partnerships for Amex, including its acquisition of acompay (a digital payments solution) in 2019 and its recent partnerships with Billtrust and Versapay (both accounts receivable solutions).
Historically, Amex’s ‘sweet spot’ has been small business. Perhaps not as well known among those who just see the firm as a p-card provider from a procurement and accounts payable standpoint, American Express has invested significantly in recent years to scale its B2B payments business in over 70 countries, with tight integration to Amex’s broader portfolio of corporate solutions. Spend Matters sees the acquisition of Nipendo as a potential way to scale this business at the enterprise level even more quickly and deeply, especially in a time of volatility in corporate travel.
If Amex can successfully integrate Nipendo, the deal has the potential to help it catapult past Mastercard and Visa in the battle for B2B connectivity and payments among card and rail providers. ‘Rails’ are platforms/networks that facilitate the flow of cash and information between buyers, suppliers and financial services firms via different schemes such as ACH, SWIFT, RTP Network (US-based), card networks and entities such as Venmo (Paypal) and Zelle (multi-bank consortium).
This Spend Matters M&A Quick Take provides a background on the environment that led to the transaction, an introduction to Nipendo and our analysis of what it brings to Amex in the converging world of financial and physical supply chains and connectivity between businesses.