August 2, 2018 / 12:07 PM / 12 days ago

CVC abandons talks with Ingenico over potential buyout - sources

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Private equity group CVC has abandoned talks with Ingenico over a potential buyout of the French payments group, amid a frenzy of deals in the sector, people close to the matter said.

CVC held early-stage talks about potentially taking Ingenico, which has a market value of 4.4 billion euros, private in early summer but those talks have now ended, they said.

The reason for the failure of the talks was not immediately clear. Ingenico and CVC declined to comment.

Ingenico shares were down 2.5 percent by 1205 GMT.

Talks between Ingenico and CVC took place against a backdrop of a flurry of deals in the payments sector, including Worldline buying the payments unit of Swiss exchange operator SIX Group in May, and Nets merging with German peer Concardis in June..

As well as investing in innovation, payments companies now also need to operate on a larger scale to navigate an increasingly complex regulatory environment.

Ingenico, founded in 1980 in Paris, bought Stockholm-based peer Bambora for 1.5 billion euros last year and Spain’s IECISA Electronic Payment System.

It has, however, also long been seen as a takeover target and talks with CVC began after Ingenico’s share price fell by 30 percent in early 2018 on weak trading.

Backing from the French government is seen as crucial for the success of any bid for Ingenico, which France’s industry minister in 2010 described as essential to the country’s electronics industry.

A planned takeover of Ingenico by Danaher at that time failed because of opposition from its then top shareholder, state-backed defence group Safran.

Last month, Ingenico reduced its full-year outlook, citing the negative impact from currencies and its planned exit from Iran in response to the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank said that they expected more company targets to be revised and that the only credible upside scenario appeared to be a break up of the company following a sale.

“A credible scenario would be for a private equity company to break the business into POS (point of sale) terminals and services, then integrate services into another payment services business and run the hardware part for cash,” Deutsche Bank said in a note to clients.

Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Additional reporting by Pamela Barbaglia, Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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