Nexi, Italy’s biggest payments group has entered into merger talks with Nets over a potential $8 billion take over in hot pursuit of the multi-billion euro deal last month with SIA.
Merging with Nets would give Nexi access to advanced digital payments markets in northern Europe, where the Nordic firm has a leading position, as well as exposure to central and eastern Europe which offer growth potential.
A deal would involve Nets being merged into Nexi, using the same multiples for expected 2020 core earnings, this would value Nets at around €7.2 billion including debt, versus Nexi’s market capitalisation of €8.3 billion.
Nexi said combining the two firms, which each had just over €1 billion in revenues last year, would result in synergies of €150 million.
Nexi says it is fully committed to the tie-up with SIA on the terms and timetable announced in October.
The SIA merger, another all-share deal which is expected to close by the summer of 2021, values SIA at €4.6 billion and aims to create an Italian payments champion with state lender CDP as the top investor with a 25% stake.
Nexi CEO Paolo Bertoluzzo had said Nexi-SIA would consider opportunities for growth in the sector, which has seen rapid consolidation as firms look to build scale to sustain investments and ride a switch towards digital payments in countries including Italy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The deal would transform Nexi into a European payment powerhouse, allowing it to build a footprint in key regions such as the Nordics and Central and Eastern Europe and compete with the likes of Worldline which just completed its take over of Ingenico.
US private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, which took control of Nets in 2017 and subsequently delisted it from the Copenhagen stock exchange, is working with Credit Suisse on the sale and wants to clinch a deal by the end of the year.
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