SIX Group Divests 11M Shares of Stake in Payment Firm Worldline

The operator of the Swiss Stock Exchange, SIX Group, has announced plans to sell a part of its minority stake in Worldline, a processor and payments solution provider.

As per the plan, SIX Group will divest 10 million shares, or 5.5 percent stake in French Fintech company, via a private placement for nearly €640 million. The exchange operator said in its press statement that it’s also unwinding additional 1 million Worldline shares through the so-called accelerated bookbuilding private placement.

Upon completion of this transaction, SIX would retain a stake of around 16.3 percent after the sale, which the exchange says would continue to be a strategic investment.

SIX added that the proceeds of Worldline transaction would be used to finance its €2.8 billion acquisition of Spanish stock exchange Bolsas y Mercados Españoles (BME). The Swiss Stock Exchange has already secured approvals from Spain’s regulators and currently awaits shareholders of BME to approve the offer of €33.40 per share in cash.

“Today’s Placement is driven by an important extraordinary strategic step for SIX: the intended acquisition of BME. At the same time, Worldline continues to be a highly strategic investment for SIX. SIX intends to remain a medium to long-term shareholder in Worldline, fully committed to its continued role on Worldline’s board of directors,” said Daniel Schmucki, CFO of SIX.

Worldline provides everything across the entire payment value chain operating online platforms that manages B2B or B2C transactions, from in-store point-of-sale terminals through to online payments, data analytics, banking and fraud protection.

SIX expands into crypto space

Worldline bids to buy French rival Ingenico in a $8.7 billion deal as it continues to build up its business and capabilities through acquisitions. The transaction between Worldline and Ingenico, which are both based in France, would create a European champion to compete with bigger American rivals. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020.

The remaining Worldline shares held by the Swiss exchange are currently under a 90-day lock-up period, as agreed between the two companies.

SIX Group has recently accelerated its involvement in crypto space, having joined a list of investors that acquired different stakes in Omniex, which develops technology and services to make it easier for financial institutions to trade cryptocurrencies. The operator of the Swiss Stock Exchange hasn’t disclosed the amount of its investment in Omniex but said the deal involves a partnership that provides a gateway to global crypto exchanges and OTC market makers for SIX and its clients.

(Photo: SIX)

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