Cielo seeks buyer for Merchant e-Solutions

Private equity will get another crack at Merchant e-Solutions, which is up for sale, three sources said.

Cielo SA tapped Goldman Sachs to advise on the process, the people said.

Merchant e-Solutions, or MeS, was founded in 2000 by former execs of BA Merchant Services, a unit of Bank of America. MeS processes more than $17 billion in annual transaction volume, its website said. In 2012, MeS said, it processed more than $14 billion in transactions for 70,000 retailers.

The Atlanta company produces about $30 million in EBITDA; it is expected to sell for $500 million to $750 million, two of the sources said.

Cielo, the largest credit card processor in Brazil, paid $670 million for Merchant e-Solutions in 2012. Trident Capital, a VC firm, was one of the sellers.

Cielo is controlled by Banco do Brasil and Bradesco.

Private equity did consider MeS the last time it was up for sale, Buyouts reported in 2010. Whether PE will bid for MeS this time is unclear, but payments companies are drawing interest from PE. Hellman & Friedman is buying Nets, a Danish payments company, for $5.3 billion. In August, Vantiv made a $10 billion offer for WorldPay, while Blackstone and CVC that month agreed to buy Paysafe Group for $3.9 billion.

In the U.S., final bids for BluePay are due this week, Buyouts has reported. TA Associates is selling the Naperville, Illinois, payment processor. Credit Suisse and Raymond James are advising. Advent International, Onex Corp and Warburg Pincus are bidding for the company, Buyouts reported in September.

Goldman declined comment. Executives for Cielo and MeS could not be reached.

Action Item: Call Marcelo Bernal, MeS’s interim co-CEO, at +1 866-663-6132

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