Dubai: Brookfield Asset Management has emerged as the frontrunner to acquire London-listed Network International Holdings after interest from a consortium backed by CVC Capital Partners cooled, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Canadian investment group is in advanced negotiations with the Middle Eastern credit card processor about a takeover, the people said. Buyout firm CVC and its partner Francisco Partners are not keen to engage in a bidding war for the business, they said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.
Network International on Thursday extended a deadline for its suitors to either make a firm offer or walk away by about a week to June 9. Bloomberg News reported earlier that Network International was considering granting the extension to an original June 1 deadline as it continued discussions about a possible deal.
There can be no certainty that any offers will be made, Network International said in its Thursday statement.
In April, Brookfield made a preliminary offer of 400 pence per share for Network International, valuing the business at 2.1 billion pounds and topping an earlier 387 pence proposal from CVC and Francisco Partners.
Brookfield has an existing presence in the industry and has been an active investor in the Middle East. Last year, an arm of Brookfield bought control of First Abu Dhabi Bank’s Magnati payments unit in a deal valuing the operation at as much as $1.15 billion. The potential synergies have given the Canadians an advantage over the buyout competitors, the people said.
Representatives for Brookfield and CVC declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Francisco Partners wasn’t immediately available for comment.