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Nordic Payments Firm Nets A/S Said to Attract Buyout Interest

  • Nets is working with adviser after Hellman & Friedman approach
  • Danish company has a market value of about $4 billion

Nets A/S, the Nordic payment services provider, has drawn interest from potential buyers including U.S. private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC, according to people familiar with the matter.

Nets, which held an initial public offering in Copenhagen last year, is working with a financial adviser to review options after getting inbound interest, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Buyout firms and rival payment companies are likely to show interest, they said. Deliberations are at an early stage and may not lead to a sale, the people said.

Private equity firms are increasingly looking for opportunities to take publicly traded companies private or to carve out units from larger businesses as a way to invest mounting piles of cash. Hellman & Friedman has offered to buy Fairfax Media Ltd. for as much as A$2.9 billion in cash, topping a rival offer for the publisher of the Sydney Morning Herald from a group including TPG Capital.

Representatives for Hellman & Friedman, Advent, Bain and Nets declined to comment.

Nets started trading in Copenhagen last September in one of the largest IPOs in Europe in 2016, which valued the firm at about $4.5 billion. Private equity funds Advent International Corp. and Bain Capital sold part of the company in the share sale, along with Danish pension fund ATP.

Advent and Bain still own about 40 percent of Nets combined after selling about 47 percent in the listing. Nets shares have fallen 14 percent since the IPO, valuing the company at about $4 billion.

Hellman & Friedman, founded in San Francisco in 1984, owns stakes in several technology and media companies, including an investment in German online real-estate and automobile portal Scout24 AG.

— With assistance by Sarah Syed

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