(Reuters) – Worldpay‘s private equity owners, Advent International and Bain Capital, will decide on Friday whether to sell or list the British payments processing company, two sources close to the matter said.
Advent and Bain will be watching market reaction to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate decision, due later on Thursday.
The Fed’s decision on whether to raise rates for the first time in nearly a decade could affect the outlook for the IPO market and close down the preferred option of listing Worldpay in London, the sources said.
The alternative to an IPO is to sell the company, and Worldpay has already attracted interest from several bidders, including French payments company Ingenico.
Financial markets were expecting the Fed to either keep rates on hold on Thursday, with a smaller chance it could raise them by 25 basis points at most.
“If they don’t (raise), or they only raise by 25 basis points, they’ll probably choose between that (an IPO) and Ingenico,” one of the sources said.
Spokesmen at Worldpay, Ingenico, Bain and Advent declined to comment.
Earlier this year Worldpay hired banks to prepare for an initial public offer which could value the business at around 6 billion pounds ($9 billion).
But it could now succumb to takeover approaches if market conditions are not right, a second source said.
Reuters reported in August that Ingenico was vying against a consortium of U.S. funds Blackstone and Hellman & Friedman as well as Germany’s Wirecard.
Ingenico is seen as the leading bidder offering as much as 6.6 billion pounds to buy Worldpay, while Blackstone’s joint bid with Hellman & Friedman is “materially less”, said one of the sources on Wednesday.
Another source close to the deal said that Ingenico, which has a stockmarket value of 6 billion euros, has all the financing in place to back a bid for Worldpay.
The French firm is mainly interested in Worldpay’s European operations and would sell its U.S. business if it succeeds in buying the company, he said.
Ingenico sees 150 million euros ($170 mln) of annual synergies from a merger with Worldpay and has support from its key shareholders, the source said.
Wirecard, with a market capitalization of 4.7 billion euros, would want to avoid being dragged into a bidding war, several industry bankers said, since it could struggle to finance a bid without teaming up with a bidding partner.
A spokeswoman at Wirecard declined to comment.
Worldpay was carved out of RBS in 2010, by which time it was the largest card processing services firm in Europe. ($1 = 0.6452 pounds) ($1 = 0.8837 euros) (Additional reporting bySteve Slater and Emiliano Mellino in London, Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt and Cyril Altmeyer in Paris; Editing by Susan Fenton)