Italy OKs Dorsey's Square Inc, China's Tencent to invest in startup Satispay: source

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FILE PHOTO: Logo of Tencent is seen at its booth at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing

ROME (Reuters) - Italy has given Square Inc, the mobile payments firm of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, and China's Tencent a conditional green light to invest in Italian start-up Satispay, a source close to the matter told Reuters.

Satispay said in November that new investors would provide fresh funds by subscribing to a 68 million-euro ($82.57 million)capital increase and acquiring a minority stake for 25 million euros.

Square and Tencent, which plan to invest 15 million euros each in Satispay, needed Rome's backing as the government has the right to block unwanted bids in strategic industries such as banking, telecoms and health.

The cabinet approved the deal on Feb. 22, the source said without giving details on the conditions that were imposed.

The digital payments sector has boomed during the pandemic, with more homebound consumers turning to online shopping and seeking to reduce contagion risks in shops by making contactless payments.

Founded in 2013, Satispay provides a mobile app that allows users to pay in stores, exchange money with friends and pay fines. Satispay said in November it had a value of 248 million euros after the new share sale.

New investors in Satispay will also include U.S. company LGT Lightstone and TIM Ventures, the venture arm of Italian phone group Telecom Italia. Both have said they would invest 20 million euros each in the payments startup.

($1 = 0.8236 euros)

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte in Rome and Elisa Anzolin in Milan; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)