September 18, 2014 / 8:44 AM / 3 years ago

Monitise shares tumble as Visa explores options for stake

A Visa sign is seen on a cashier's desk at a restaurant in Yangon January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

(Reuters) - Shares of Monitise Plc fell by nearly a third after Visa Inc said it was exploring options for its 5.5 percent stake in the British mobile banking technology company.

Visa, the world’s largest credit and debit card company, said it had hired J.P. Morgan Securities Plc to help consider its options for the investment.

Monitise was the biggest percentage loser on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday morning, with nearly 250 million pounds ($408 million) wiped off the company’s market value. More than 51 million shares had changed hands by 1008 GMT (11:08 a.m. BST).

Visa Inc is the fourth-biggest shareholder in Monitise. Visa Europe separately holds a stake in the company.

Monitise hired former Visa executive Elizabeth Buse in June to co-run the company as it pursues a sevenfold increase in the number of customers using its mobile banking and payment systems.

Visa first invested in Monitise in 2009, when the company’s revenue was about 3 million pounds, to provide capital support as the company grew its mobile payments business. It has reduced its original 14.4 percent stake in the company over time.

Visa said the reduction of its stake followed its practice of supplying seed capital to emerging companies and reducing its influence as the company grows.

Monitise, which listed on London’s Alternate Investment Market in mid-2007, reported revenue of 95.1 million pounds in the year ended June 30.

Visa said Monitise would provide it with mobile platform development services through 2016.

Monitise said in a separate statement that it would continue its alliance with Visa Inc and reiterated its guidance for the current financial year.

Shares of Monitise were trading down 23.5 percent at 32.50 pence at 1008 GMT (11:08 a.m. BST).

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain and Roshni Menon in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Robin Paxton

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