The industry is going through noteworthy changes – move towards digital payments, hunt for cost cutting techniques, private equity groups and investors benefitting from low interest rates and cheap financing. The European market in specific is also undergoing a consolidation phase.
Nets, the largest payments processor in Scandinavia, is all set to enter talks to select potential bidder for a private equity buy-out. Nets was bought by a consortium of private equity firms – Bain Capital and Advent – in 2014 and was then listed in Denmark in 2016. The firm saw one of Europe’s biggest IPOs last year and has a current market value of about $5 billion. Talk of a takeover in the last three months have increased Nets share price by 16% during this period.
US firm Hellman & Friedman is believed to be in pole position. Permira and Nordic Capital are the other two contenders that have also completed due diligence on Scandinavia’s largest payments processor. Nets chief executive Bo Nilsson said earlier this month that Nets is seeing “considerable interest” from potential buyers, including other payment processing players as well as private equity groups. Irrespective of who buys the firm, it would be the largest leveraged European buy-out in recent years.
“As one of the biggest and most developed operators on the payment services market, I’m not surprised that some see Nets as a brick in that puzzle,” Nets Chief Executive Bo Nilsson said.