Payments Company Nets Surges After Confirming Takeover Approach

  • Shares rise as much as 13.8 percent in Copenhagen trading
  • Nets said working with adviser after drawing bidder interest

Nets A/S, a payment services provider, surged after the company confirmed it has drawn interest from potential buyers and is reviewing its options, sending shares up the most since its initial public offering last year.

Shares in the Nordic company rose as much as 13.8 percent on Monday, its steepest increase since September. The stock had gained 10.8 percent at 10:39 a.m. in Copenhagen trading, valuing the firm at about $4.4 billion.

“It is very early stage and there can be no certainty as to the potential outcome,” the company said in a statement on Saturday, after Bloomberg first reported on approaches. It said it would provide further information “when appropriate.”

U.S. private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC is among the companies to have shown interest in Nets, people familiar with the matter said. Nets 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 will probably 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.

Nets started trading in Copenhagen last September in one of the largest European IPOs in 2016, valuing the firm at about 30 billion kroner ($4.6 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. Representatives for Hellman & Friedman, Advent and Bain declined to comment.

— With assistance by Sarah Syed, and Kenneth Pringle

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