Warburg Said Near Deal to Buy Abraaj's Stake in Payment Unit

  • Warburg Pincus-led group in talks for Network International
  • Network International is in separate discussions to buy EMP

Private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic are in talks to buy Abraaj Group’s 49 percent stake in a payment-processing business, people familiar with the matter said.

Abraaj may announce the sale of its holding in Network International LLC as early as this week, the people said, asking not to be named as the talks aren’t public. A transaction could value Network International at about $1.5 billion to $2 billion, the people said. Talks may still fall apart, the people said.

Abraaj had earlier sought an initial public offering for the payment business, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg in June. U.K. peer Worldpay Group Plc listed last month and has since gained 18 percent in London trading, compared with a 3.4 percent increase in the Bloomberg European IPO Index over the same period.

Separately, Network International is in talks to buy Actis LLP’s payment services firm Emerging Markets Payments Group, three of the people said. A deal may value EMP at about $400 million, people close to the talks have said.

Spokesmen for Abraaj, General Atlantic and Warburg Pincus declined to comment. A spokesman for Actis didn’t immediately return a call and e-mail.

Dubai lender Emirates NBD PJSC owns the remaining 51 percent stake in Network International. It agreed to sell 49 percent to Abraaj for about 2 billion dirhams ($545 million) in late 2010. The unit serves about 70 banks and financial institutions in the Middle East and North Africa and more than 17,000 individual merchants, according to information on Abraaj’s website.

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