Nordic Payments Firm Nets Heading For IPO?

Another payments processor may be coming to the public equity markets. Bloomberg reported that the owners of Nets Holding A/S are looking at a number of options for the company, with an eye on an initial public offering. The newswire quoted unnamed sources familiar with the thought process behind the scenes.

If an IPO does indeed materialize, it would come two years after the Nordic firm was taken private from a number of Nordic banks, with a $2.5 billion bid. And, last year, the payments firm bought Nordea Merchant Acquiring for about $256 million.

Among the holders: Bain Capital, Advent International and pension fund ATP. They are reportedly working with Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley to explore a move to an IPO, and in terms of valuation, the range could be $3.5 billion to $4 billion, said Bloomberg, quoting the sources.

The firm would be the latest in a series of payments processing outfits that would be leaving private markets, or even outright sales, for public ones. Among notable transactions: Vista Equity Partners sold Transfirst for $2.4 billion to Total Systems. Separately, Worldpay went public late last year.

For Nets, a public debut would come with some growth, at least as some admittedly outdated figures show. The firm had 6 percent growth in revenues in 2014 year over year, and as Bloomberg said, the firm processes 1 billion transactions on an annual basis.

In the Nordic region, as Bloomberg reported, companies have raised $8 billion in IPOs going back through 2015, with headlines revolving around private equity entities bringing issuers to market, such as Dometic Group AB and Europris ASA, a discount retailer.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.