Sage Group puts North America business on the block: sources

Sage Group, the U.K. software company, has officially put its North American payments business up for sale, several sources said.

Raymond James is advising on the auction, people said. Sage North America provides accounting, payroll, asset management and payment solutions for clients.

Sage North America went up for sale before the holidays; the auction has hit the second round, one source said. Companies including Global Payments and Vantiv were expected to bid for the company, but it’s unclear if they are involved.

Sage North America is expected to fetch $500 million, according to press reports.

On Dec. 7, Sage confirmed that it was evaluating strategic options, including a sale, for its North American payments business.

Softbank’s buy of ARM Holdings in 2016 led to Sage Group becoming the largest listed technology company in the U.K., the Financial Times said in December. Sage’s business of installing software in customer offices has come under pressure. In November, Sage reported that organic revenue improved, rising 6.1 percent.

PE has frequently invested in the payments space. Firms including Vista Equity Partners, Welsh Carson, Anderson & Stowe, GTCR, Lindsay Goldberg and Hellman & Friedman have invested in the sector.

One of the larger payment-processing deals involved TransFirst, which handles about $48 billion in annual transaction volume for more than 200,000 merchants and financial institutions.

In April, Vista Equity Partners closed its $2.35 billion sale of TransFirst to TSYS after owning the company for less than two years. Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe had owned TransFirst for seven years before selling it to Vista in 2014.

Executives for Sage, Raymond James and Global Pay declined comment. Vantiv could not be reached for comment.

Action Item: Contact Sage in the U.S.: +1 800-652-2370.

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