Abraaj Said to Work With BofA, Goldman on Payment Unit IPO

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Buyout firm Abraaj Group is working with Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase Inc. as it plans an initial public offering of its stake in a credit-card processing business, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Abraaj, which owns a 49 percent stake in Network International LLC, is also being advised by Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes on the planned IPO, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Dubai lender Emirates NBD PJSC may decide to retain its 51 percent stake in Network International, which could be valued at as much as $2 billion, the people said.

Official mandates haven’t yet been given and the final line-up of advisers may change, they said. Abraaj may choose to list the company in either Dubai or London, the people said.

Buyout firms in the Middle East and Africa are taking advantage of rising asset values to exit investments through an IPO or sale to strategic buyers. Abraaj plans to sell more of its Gulf investments in the next 12 to 18 months, Ahmed Badreldin, partner and regional head of Middle East and North Africa executive said in an interview on Monday.

The company sold 80 percent of its stake in Egyptian diagnostics provider Integrated Diagnostics Holdings Plc last month, in an IPO on the London Stock Exchange which valued the company at about $670 million.

The firm bought 49 percent of Network International from Emirates NBD for about 2 billion dirhams ($545 million) in late 2010. The unit serves about 70 banks and financial institutions in the Middle East and Africa and more than 17,000 individual merchants, according to information on Abraaj’s website. The company also manages one of the region’s most extensive ATM networks.

Representatives for Abraaj, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, EFG-Hermes and Emirates ENBD declined to comment.

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