US Buyout Firms and Danish Pension Fund Acquire Nordic Card Payments Company Nets

Two US buyout firms, Advent International Corp and Bain Capital, is teaming with Danish pension fund ATP to acquire Nordic card-payment company Nets Holding for 17bn Danish kroner (DKK), equivalent to US$3.1bn.

Nets, headquartered in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, was formed in 1968 and has developed into a leading Northern European provider of payments, information and digital identity solutions. The company has 2,600 employees in five countries – Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Estonia – and connects banks, merchants and businesses through its network. In 2013, Nets handled more than 6bn card transactions supporting more than 33m payment cards and over 500,000 merchants in the Nordics.

Prior to the deal, Nets was owned by a group of 186 primarily Danish and Norwegian banks, including Danske Bank, Nordea, DNB and Denmark’s central bank. Advent and Bain already jointly own credit card processor WorldPay, which they bought from Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in 2010 “We will invest to develop the business,” Robin Marshall, a managing director at Bain Capital, said in a statement. “We want to create the Nordic payments champion.”

“I’m confident that we have found a highly qualified owner of Nets in the consortium consisting of Advent International, ATP and Bain Capital, which balances strong local support and understanding with extensive global expertise in the payments sector,” said Nets chairman, Peter Lybecker.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals and confirmations, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.

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