Capital One to acquire Discover — and both of the big businesses are on the ESG bandwagon

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Capital One will acquire Discover, according to a press release, which notes that those holding Discover shares will receive shares of Capital One stock.

“Our acquisition of Discover is a singular opportunity to bring together two very successful companies with complementary capabilities and franchises, and to build a payments network that can compete with the largest payments networks and payments companies,” Capital One founder, chairman, and CEO Richard Fairbank said, according to the press release.

Discover investors will get slightly more than one share of Capital One per share of Discover that they hold.

“Under the terms of the agreement, Discover shareholders will receive 1.0192 Capital One shares for each Discover share, representing a premium of 26.6% based on Discover’s closing price of $110.49 on February 16, 2024. At close, Capital One shareholders will own approximately 60% and Discover shareholders will own approximately 40% of the combined company,” the press release notes. Discover “is the smallest of the four US-based global payments networks. This acquisition adds scale and investment, enabling the Discover network to be more competitive with the largest payments networks and payments companies,” the release noted.

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Both companies promote environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, ideology.

Discover released an ESG report last year that listed goals such as increasing the representation of women and non-whites in “all management levels by 2025.”

“Increase POC to 40%” the report stated as a goal, providing a footnote that explained, “POC is defined as People of Color; POC comprises all races/ethnicities in the United States that are not categorized as White/Caucasian.” Other objectives included increasing “women to 50%” and “Black and Hispanic to 15%.”

Capital One released an ESG report last year that noted “In the three year-period from 2019 to 2022, in the U.S., Asian and Pacific Islander VP+ representation has grown 28 percent, Black VP+ representation has grown 128.6 percent, Hispanic VP+ representation has grown 16.7 percent and women’s VP+ representation has grown 8.5 percent.”

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