German payments processor Wirecard has joined other bidders, looking to acquire UK-based payment gateway provider Worldpay. Wirecard values Worldpay, which is owned by Advent International Corp and Bain Capital, at about £6bn (€8.2bn, $9.5bn).
Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter, reported that Wirecard is competing against private-equity bidders, including a joint proposal from Blackstone Group and Hellman & Friedman, in order to acquire the British company. Worldpay is also preparing for a possible initial public offering (IPO), as the owners look to avoid a sale, according to the sources.
A final decision is yet to be made, with several potential buyers in the race, the sources added. They said a decision may be announced as early as September. The companies were unavailable for comments.
London-based Worldpay has approached banks about refinancing its debt before the possible IPO, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg. That comes after the company hired Barclays' deputy chairman, Michael Rake, in July as its new chairman to help with the IPO.
Starting operations in 1989, Worldpay emerged as one of the first online payments companies in the UK. In 2002, RBS brought Worldpay.
Advent and Bain Capital bought Worldpay from RBS in 2010 for £1.7bn, and invested heavily in the company to bolster its technology platforms. The company also made a number of acquisitions since its breakaway from RBS. Worldpay currently processes in-store, mobile and online payment transactions.
The company reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of £375m in 2014, on revenues of £3.6bn, according to official data. During the year, the company witnessed the number of transactions on its platforms growing by 16%.