Scandinavian payments processor Nets might be headed for a massive buyout.
Friday (Sept. 1) reports in the Financial Times announced the company could be acquired for $5 billion, with U.S.-based private equity firm Hellman and Friedman as the current likely acquirer.
Nets went public last year in an IPO that valued the company at $4.5 billion or even more, by some estimates. Now, reports noted the company’s board of directors recently met to discuss private equity and other payments companies’ ongoing interest in the company. Unnamed sources told the publication the board is expected to announce the results of the meeting, and Hellman and Friedman could soon enter into exclusive discussions with Nets.
But those sources also noted nothing had been decided yet and other companies are interested in a potential acquisition. Nets has reportedly been working closely with advisers at JPMorgan Chase, as well as others.
“Discussions are still ongoing regarding a potential takeover offer for Nets A/S,” the company told the Financial Times in a news statement. “There is no certainty, at this stage, that an agreement will be reached.”
Nets had previously confirmed it was fielding interest from potential acquirers but noted that such discussions were in their earliest stages.
According to the publication’s reports, a $5 billion acquisition of the company “would be the largest European leveraged buyout in the past four years,” topping Stada’s acquisition for $4.86 billion.
The Financial Times also said a Nets takeover would further consolidate Europe’s fragmented payments industry, following last month’s news regarding the Worldpay acquisition by Vantiv. That takeover was agreed upon for $10.4 billion, with the combined entity being called Worldpay and based in the U.S. It will also possess a secondary listing in London.
Nets was first purchased by a consortium of buyers in 2014 led by U.S. private equity groups Bain Capital and Advent International, along with pension fund ATP Group.