Private equity-led group buys payments company Nets for $3.1 bln

Private equity firms Advent International and Bain Capital, along with Danish pension fund ATP, agreed on March 24 to buy payment services company Nets Holding from a group of Nordic banks for 17 billion Danish crowns ($3.14 billion), Nets said in a statement.

Scale is rapidly becoming a key factor in a global payments industry that has faced increasing regulatory demands in recent years, prompting Nets to initiate a strategic review of its operations last year, according to sister news service Reuters.

“The outcome of this review was that Nets needs a new owner with the expertise, commitment and financial resources to develop the business in a rapidly changing payments industry,” Peter Lybecker, chairman of Nets, said in a statement.

Reuters reported earlier in March that Advent, Bain and ATP had entered exclusive talks to buy Nets, which was owned by a group of 186 banks.

Nets, formed in 2010 through the merger of Norwegian Nordito and Danish PBS, bought Finnish payments company Luottokunta in 2012 and last year handled more than 6 billion card transactions supporting more than 33 million payment cards and over 500,000 merchants in the Nordics.

Nordic banks DNB, Nordea and Danske Bank announced separately that they had agreed to sell their stakes to the private equity firms.

The Danish central bank was also a shareholder.

Balazs Koranyi is Oslo bureau chief for Reuters news service, while Simon Johnson is a correspondent.

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