Dubai: Dubai headquartered - and London-listed - payment processing firm Network International has received buyout interest from the private equity investor CVC Capital Partners, according to a Bloomberg report. If the deal goes ahead, it would be the second such involving a global investment firm and a UAE payment entity.
CVC Capital Partners is a French private equity firm with more than $130 billion as assets under management. Emirates NBD holds 6 per cent in Network International.
Early last year, Abu Dhabi mega-bank FAB sold 60 per cent in Magnati to Brookfield Business Partners, with the payment firm valued at around $1.5 billion. The deal was also one of the drivers behind FAB's sterling results for 2022.
"Network's growing reach in the region and in a high-potential growth market like Africa is what could be drawing buyout interest," said a Dubai-based analyst. "CVC Capital Partners can't be the only bidder for Network, and it could make for an interesting deal - if it happens."
In a recent statement, Network International had said it would continue an aggressive share buyback program this year as well. The buyback would total $100 million. At the time, some analysts had talked about a potential stake sale by Network, which has been expanding in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other African markets while building on its strengths in the home market of the UAE.
According to Bloomberg, Network has been speaking with advisers after attracting takeover interest from CVC. The Network stock closed 23 per cent up on FTSE, for a market value of 1.6 billion pounds.
The digital payments scene in the UAE and wider regional markets have been getting sizeable investor interest, with consumer financing platforms offering 'buy now pay later' solutions leading the way. Next week, Abu Dhabi based MBME - a digital payment solutions provider - is listing on ADX's 'Growth Market', which is the stock exchange's secondary market for private listings.