UPDATE 1-French payments firm Worldline to buy SIX Payment Services for $2.75 bln


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PARIS/ZURICH (Reuters) – French payments company Worldline (WLN.PA) will buy the payments unit of Swiss stock exchange operator SIX Group in a $2.75 billion deal, in the latest example of consolidation within the sector, as financial sector companies seek to benefit from the shift towards electronic and online payments.

The French company said its acquisition of SIX Payment Services would largely involve an issue of shares along with a cash component of 0.28 billion euros ($333.59 million). This gives SIX Payment Services an enterprise value of 2.30 billion euros, or 2.75 billion Swiss francs ($2.75 billion).

Worldline said the deal would result in SIX Payment Services ending up with a 27 percent stake in the French company, while Atos (ATOS.PA) would retain its majority 51 percent stake in Worldline.

“Through this merger, our company with its intact financial firepower and its unrivalled size in our continent, will be better positioned than ever to continue its strategic endeavor to build, in the heart of Europe, a new global leader of the payment industry,” Worldline Chief Executive Gilles Grapinet said in a statement.

The European payments industry has been consolidating quickly and other recent takeover targets have included Worldpay and Paysafe, while Nets was also taken over last year by U.S. firm Hellman & Friedman.

SIX Group says its unit, which helps process payments and provides debit and credit card terminals to retailers, restaurants and hotels, is the market leader in Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg.

The deal involves the issue of 49.1 million of new Worldline shares, representing 27 percent of the share capital, and 338 million Swiss francs in cash, subject to customary net debt and working capital adjustments, the French payments company said.

SIX Group will also have two seats on Worldline’s board.

Worldline beat competition from U.S. buyout fund Hellman & Friedman, which also controls Danish payments firm Nets, to land the SIX Payment business.

Worldline said it expected the takeover, which is due to close in the last quarter of 2018, to boost earnings and result in cost savings.

($1 = 0.8393 euros)

($1 = 1.0015 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and John Revill, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips


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