Abraaj Group hires Moelis & Co to advise on exit from Network International: Reuters

Private equity firm Abraaj Group has hired investment bank Moelis & Co to advise it on options for selling its stake in United Arab Emirates-based payments provider Network International, either through a stock market listing or a private sale, according to sources.

Abraaj has also been talking to banks including JP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs as part of the dual-track process, said two of the sources.

Dubai-based Abraaj acquired a 49 percent stake in 2011 in Network International, which according to the company’s website holds a 70 percent market share of the region’s payment services industry. At the time, Abraaj said it was paying around 2 billion dirhams ($544.57 million) for the deal.

The location for an initial public offering (IPO) would either be Dubai or London, one of the sources said, adding the deal could be around $1 billion or higher.

Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, holds the remaining 51 percent stake in Network International.

Private equity firms usually invest for three to five years.

Abraaj, Moelis, JP Morgan, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Recent stock market volatility has driven some regional companies to weigh private sales as an alternative to stock listings.

The timing of either an initial public offering or private placement was planned for early next year, one of the sources said.