Payment software and technology provider Global Payments has announced it will combine with Total System Services (TSYS) in an all-stock merger of equals at the value of $21.5 billion.

In a statement, the two companies have said they will provide payments and software solutions to approximately 3.5 million predominantly small to mid-sized (SMB) merchants, and more than 1,300 financial institutions across more than 100 countries.

Global Payments chief executive officer Jeff Sloan will become CEO of the merged company and TSYS CEO Troy Woods will take the role of chairman.

Sloan expressed his delight in bringing together “two industry leaders with strong businesses and cultures” and believes the merger will generate significant opportunities for all involved in the company.

He said: “The combination of Global Payments and TSYS establishes the leading pure play payments technology company with unparalleled vertical market and payment software capabilities and e-commerce and omnichannel solutions, operating at scale in fast growing markets globally.”

“This transformative partnership accelerates our technology-enabled, software-driven payments strategy and provides exposure into attractive and complementary businesses, while enhancing our financial strength and flexibility.”

The agreement is Global Payments’ biggest ever in terms of monetary value, and acts as another major deal in the payment technology industry following FIS’ purchase of WorldPay.

Acquisition of TSYS will also expand Global Payments’ e-commerce and omnichannel solutions presence in the United States.

According to the consulting firm McKinsey, the global payment market is set to reach $3 trillion a year in revenue by 2023 as society shifts from cash to digital payments.

“In this exciting merger of equals, our new company will truly be a payments powerhouse that is perfectly poised to lead the industry in delivering merchant, issuer and consumer payments technology, solutions and service to our customers,” commented Troy Woods, Chairman, president and CEO, TSYS.

“Our companies share common values, a strong culture of putting people first, and a relentless commitment to doing the right thing, making this combination the perfect fit. The entire TSYS team is proud to link arms with Global Payments, and we look forward to leading the market as the preeminent payment solutions provider.”

The combined company will take the name of Global Payments and be led by a 12-member board with six directors from each firm – spanning across the company’s dual headquarters in Atlanta and Columbus.

Global Payments shareholders will hold 52% of the company, and TSYS shareholders will own the remaining 48% upon the closing of the deal (expected fourth quarter.)

William I Jacobs, chairman of Global Payments, stated: “It has been my honor to serve as lead director and then chairman of Global Payments since its IPO in 2001.

“I am delighted with the agreed partnership with TSYS, which I believe combines the two best payments technology companies worldwide. Their future is very bright, and I look forward to continuing to contribute to their board.”