Online payments provider Optimal Payments (OPAY:AIM) has its sights set on a FTSE 250 listing as it announces a €1.1 billion (£798 million) deal to buy Skrill.

Combining the two businesses provides geographical diversification, according to Optimal's board, and positions it for expected growth in the regulated North American gambling market.

It is the latest in a string of acquisitions for the Isle of Man-based business.

'The acquisition will be transformational and value enhancing for Optimal Payments and will create a leading payment and digital wallet provider with significant international scale,' says a statement from the company.

OPTIMAL PAYMENTS - Comparison Line Chart (Rebased to first)

Classified as a reverse takeover because of Skrill's size, the deal is backed by leading shareholders Old Mutual and Thornburg, which own 16.3% of Optimal.

Shareholders will still need to approve the deal, which will be funded by £451 million in cash, £98 million of shares issued to Skrill's private equity owners and taking on Skrill's £186 million net debt.

Optimal is proposing a five for three rights issue at 166p to fund the cash element. Shares have been suspended, pending the publication of a prospectus.

When the deal is completed management plans to apply for a main market listing and believes the combined Optimal-Skrill business would be included in the FTSE 250.

Issue Date: 23 Mar 2015