France's Ingenico targeted by Natixis, Edenred in payments deal flurry
* Edenred, Natixis express Ingenico interest -sources
* Ingenico shares surge 10 percent
* Natixis and Edenred shares fall
* Ingenico has been subject of bid interest before
* Payments sector has seen several M&A deals
* Ingenico failed to buy Worldline in 2015
(Updates with Edenred interest)
By Cyril Altmeyer and Pamela Barbaglia
PARIS/LONDON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Ingenico is being
pursued by business services company Edenred and
corporate banking group Natixis as consolidation in
the payments field heats up.
"Natixis and Edenred both sent letters expressing interest
in Ingenico at the beginning of the summer. Ingenico is having
conversations with Natixis but hasn't started talking to
Edenred", a source told Reuters on Thursday.
French group Ingenico, which has a 4 billion euro ($4.6
billion) stock market value and has been a takeover target
before, confirmed it had received "preliminary approaches for a
strategic transaction", without saying who from.
Growing use of smartphones to make online payments has
triggered consolidation, despite increasing regulatory scrutiny
of the sector, with deals offering potential cost savings.
Worldline bought the payments unit of Swiss
exchange operator SIX Group in May, and Nets merged with German
peer Concardis in June. Ingenico tried unsuccessfully to buy
Worldline in 2015.
Meanwhile, private equity firm CVC abandoned talks with
Ingenico, sources told Reuters in August, while U.S. company
Danaher also failed to buy it in 2010.
Natixis, which has a stock market value of 18 billion euros
and is part of French bank BPCE, said on Thursday it was
examining merging its payments business with Ingenico.
An official at Edenred, which has a market capitalisation of
around 7.5 billion euros, said it did not comment on rumours.
A second source said that he expected a bidding war between
Natixis and Edenred, with the latter preparing a firm offer.
INGENICO SHARE BOOST
Shares in Ingenico, which were hit in July after it issued a
profit warning due to adverse exchange rates and having to quit
Iran, jumped by around 10 percent on Thursday.
Edenred shares were down by 1.9 percent, while Natixis
shares fell 5.2 percent.
Backing from the French government is seen as key to the
success of any bid for Ingenico, which France's industry
minister in 2010 described as essential to its electronics
industry and which is 5 percent owned by French state bank BPI.
Analysts at brokerage Jefferies said buying Ingenico could
prove tricky for Natixis, with both its relative size and the
potential return for the French bank both likely challenges.
Natixis said it was sticking to a "strong financial
discipline" regarding any deals or investments, while Ingenico
said it was reviewing its options.
($1 = 0.8666 euros)
(Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta;
Editing by Dominique Vidalon/Emelia Sithole-Matarise/Alexander
First Published: 2018-10-11 08:54:25
Updated 2018-10-11 13:38:54
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