Worldpay shares surge on takeover approaches

Other payments companies also gained, with Germany's Wirecard AG and France's Worldline SA climbing as much as 5.3 per cent and 4.4 per cent respectively.

WallStreet Wires said earlier Tuesday that Worldpay, whose shares have climbed more than 60 per cent since its listing in 2015, had received an approach and hired advisers.

Under takeover rules Vantiv and JPMorgan have a deadline of 5pm on 1 August to make a firm offer or walk away.

This boosted Worldpay's market value to £7.8 billion, benefiting investors in Richard Buxton's Old Mutual UK Alpha and Nigel Thomas' AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities funds, which respectively hold stakes of 1% and 0.9% in the company, according to Thomson Reuters data. Neither company could be reached for comment in the U.S., which is marking the July 4 holiday.

Payments businesses have recently been popular acquisition targets. J.P. Morgan declined to comment. Banks and payment companies are racing to retool their offerings as customers increasingly turn to card and mobile devices to pay for goods.

Worldpay's European rival payment company Nets A/S said last weekend that it had been approached by suitors.

Worldpay processes millions of mobile, online and in-store transactions daily.

JPMorgan Chase Bank and tech firm Vantiv Inc are believed to be among the parties eagerly monitoring the UK's largest payment processor. While the bank has made a series of smaller financial technology acquisitions in recent years, it has so far held off from big-ticket deals.

The payments firm, which was set up in 1994 by Nick Ogden, was sold to Royal Bank of Scotland in 2002 and later bought by private equity firms Advent International and Bain Capital, which invested around £700m in the deal.

The business has been growing strongly, posting a 15% increase in revenue to GBP4.54 billion in 2016. Sources close to the company said the offers were unsolicited.

  • Eleanor Harrison