Worldpay owners to decide on sale process on Friday: sources

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 16, 2015 2:47 PM

By Pamela Barbaglia and Freya Berry

LONDON (Reuters) - Worldpay's private equity owners, Advent International and Bain Capital, will make up their minds on Friday on whether to sell or list the British payments processing company, in the light of the U.S. Federal Reserve's crucial monetary meeting on Thursday, two sources close to the matter said.

The Fed could decide to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, a move which would close down the preferred option of listing Worldpay in London.

The alternative is a trade sale, with the business already attracting interest from several bidders, including French payments company Ingenico <INGC.PA>.

"If the Fed hikes interest rates by 75 basis points the markets will collapse, so that closes the IPO route," a source close to one of the bidders said.

"If they don't, or they only raise by 25 basis points, they'll probably choose between that and Ingenico."

Spokesmen at Worldpay, Ingenico, Bain and Advent declined to comment.

Earlier this year Worldpay hired banks to prepare for an initial public offer which could value the business at around 6 billion pounds ($9 billion).

But it could now succumb to takeover approaches if market conditions are not right, a second source said.

Reuters reported in August that Ingenico was vying against a consortium of U.S. funds Blackstone <BX.N> and Hellman & Friedman as well as Germany's Wirecard <WDIG.DE>.

Ingenico, which has a stock market value of 6 billion euros, is seen as the leading bidder while Blackstone's joint bid with Hellman & Friedman is "materially less", said one of the sources on Wednesday.

The French firm has offered to buy Worldpay for as much as 6.6 billion pounds, the second source said, while noting that there was still a degree of uncertainty due to the need for a significant financing package.

Wirecard, with a market capitalization of 4.7 billion euros, would want to avoid being dragged into a bidding war, several industry bankers said, since it could struggle to finance a bid without teaming up with a bidding partner.

A spokeswoman at Wirecard declined to comment.

Worldpay was carved out of RBS <RBS.L> in 2010, by which time it was the largest merchant acquirer in Europe, providing card processing services for businesses.

($1 = 0.6452 pounds)

(Additional reporting by Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt, Emiliano Mellino in London and Cyril Altmeyer in Paris)