U.S. private equity firm Blackstone (BX.N) has joined forces with buyout fund Hellman & Friedman in a race for British payments processing company Worldpay, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
Worldpay’s private equity owners, Advent and Bain, are preparing the company for a London stock market listing which is likely to propel the firm into the FTSE 100.
Last month, they appointed Barclays’ (BARC.L) deputy chairman Michael Rake as Worldpay’s new chairman, replacing John Allan.
The move signaled that the buyout houses favored a stock market listing and were keen to have management in place for when it starts trading as a public company, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
An IPO could value the firm at around 6 billion pounds, including around 2 billion pounds worth of debt.
But heavyweight private equity funds are still looking snap up Worldpay despite the listing plans.
Sources told Reuters in July that European buyout house CVC [CVC.UL] and U.S. fund Hellman & Friedman were considering separate bids and now Blackstone has teamed up with the latter.
A source familiar with the matter said that an initial public offering (IPO) was still the most likely course of action.
Blackstone’s move was first reported on Thursday by Sky News, which also said that a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund could team up with Blackstone and Hellman & Friedman in a joint bid.
Worldpay provides a platform to enable merchants to accept payments by cards and other methods. Its owners bought Worldpay from Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) in 2010 for about 2 billion pounds.
Hellman & Friedman was not immediately available for comment. Advent and Bain declined to comment.