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Discover buying Diners Club International

Emily Crone

Today Discover Financial Services announced it will acquire the Diners Club International network from Citigroup for $165 million. Upon required regulatory approvals and conditions, the acquisition should close within three months.

Diners Club cardDiners Club launched the first general purpose charge card in 1950, and has since been an international, upscale brand, most often associated with frequent travelers and businesses. According to a press release , Discover will not only be acquiring the business, which sees $30 billion per year in spending outside North America, but also its brand and trademarks, employees and payment network, which has more than 8 million accepting merchants and locations in 185 countries.

“Under the deal, Discover will acquire the international network, which it will integrate with its own business to allow Discover Network cardholders to use their cards at merchants that accept Diners Club,” a news brief on MarketWatch explains. “It also means Diners Club cardholders will be able to use their cards on the Discover Network in North America.” Diners Club North America is not part of the acquisition, however.

Outside the U.S., Discover Card is currently accepted only in Canada, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and China. “We expect this acquisition to significantly improve our competitive position by giving us global reach and accelerating growth in our payments network revenues,” said David Nelms, chief executive officer of Discover, in the press release.

Current Diners Club cardholders don’t have to do a thing — they can continue to use their cards and will receive the same benefits they already have. Additionally, “Citi will remain a significant long-term issuer on the Diners Club network as part of the transaction,” the press release says.

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  • I *think* I remember seeing this in Europe if I remember correctly. I actually am surprised Discover hasn’t tried something like this sooner to try and compete more effectively with Visa/Mastercard/Amex

  • Diners Club is big overseas, but weak in North America. I am sure Discover has wanted to purchase it for a long time, but most likely the price wasn’t right until recently with Citi being hit my the mortgage crisis.