Brookfield beefs up payments business with a US$2.76-billion Network International buyout

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Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management BAM-T said on Friday it would buy payments provider Network International for £2.2-billion ($3.69-billion) in cash, as it expands its payments business in the Middle East and Africa.

The 400 pence-per-share offer represents a premium of about 64 per cent to United Arab Emirates-based Network International’s closing price on April 12, the last business day prior to the start of the offer period.

The FTSE 250 company’s shares rose as much as 6 per cent to a more-than-one-month high of 385 pence in the morning trade.

Brookfield made the 400-pence offer in April, topping a 387-pence joint offer from private equity firms CVC Capital and Francisco Partners.

“This combination would potentially create a key platform in the attractive MEA payments space at scale, best positioned to provide a full suite of offerings,” it said in a statement.

The Canadian firm said Network directors intended to unanimously recommend that shareholders vote for the deal.

Brookfield, which has more than US$5-billion in assets under management in the Middle East, bought a 60-per-cent stake last year in Magnati, the payments business of First Abu Dhabi Bank.

On Friday, First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates’ largest lender, said it would co-invest with Brookfield in the Network acquisition.

Brookfield said the deal would be financed by a combination of equity investments, as part of which Brookfield Business Partners expects to invest up to about US$150-million.

Network International operates through two business divisions, a merchant services segment that provides payment gateways for online merchants and an outsourced payment services division, where issuer processing brings in the bulk of revenue.

Network International, whose top investors include Capital Research and Mastercard UK, listed in London in April, 2019, at an initial public offering price of 435 pence a share.

It recorded nearly US$46-billion in processed volumes for more than 150,000 merchants in 2022.

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