Visa is paying £198m to buy Earthport, a British firm that facilitates international transactions for banks and businesses, the US-based payments group said. 

Visa International Service Association, a unit of Visa, has offered 30 pence for each Earthport share, a price that is four times the stock's Monday closing price of 7.45 pence. 

Earthport shares surged in early trading on Thursday and matched the offer price. 

The London-headquartered firm said Visa's proposal was "fair and reasonable" and that it would recommend its shareholders take up the all-cash offer. 

Earthport's shares have fallen more than 28% this year amid growing losses and expenses, forcing the firm to say last month that "fundamental" change was required in its strategy. 

Earthport says it offers a lower-cost alternative to traditional payments systems by allowing banks and money transfer firms to have a single relationship instead of multiple ties with various payments channels around the world. 

For Visa, cross-border payments, or transactions that involve parties in two or more countries, represents a growing business. 

The volume of such payments rose 10% in the 2018 fiscal year, Visa said in October. 

Earthport, which counts Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Japan Post Bank among its clients, said Visa's offer was a revised proposal that followed an indicative offer from the US company last month.