Barclays Plc is considering the sale of a stake in its merchant-acquiring business in the UK as part of efforts to boost its lagging share price, according to people familiar with the matter.
(Bloomberg) — Barclays Plc is considering the sale of a stake in its merchant-acquiring business in the UK as part of efforts to boost its lagging share price, according to people familiar with the matter.
The bank, led by C.S. Venkatakrishnan, has reached out to potential partners and worked internally on the plan, they said, asking not to be named as the details aren’t public. Selling a stake could value the whole unit at as much as £3 billion pounds ($3.8 billion), they said.
Barclays’ corporate development team, led by former Morgan Stanley banker John Sandhu, is contributing to the plan, the people said.
While Barclays currently plans to only sell a minority stake in the business, the transaction could also trigger suitors to pitch the merits of a majority purchase, according to some of the people.
“We don’t comment on speculation,” a Barclays spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Our businesses continue to perform well and growing our global payments business is a priority for us.” Reuters reported the plans earlier Monday.
A deal for Barclays Merchant Services would mark the most aggressive push by the bank to increase its valuation after a strategy review that started earlier this year, amid questions over its stubborn discount to peers. Separately, it’s also in the process of selling its consumer finance business in Germany, which could conclude later this year.
Many European banks have gotten out of merchant-acquiring services, which help companies handle electronic payments. These units have typically been sold to dedicated payment firms or private equity funds that have merged them into bigger platforms.
Italy’s Nexi SpA has been a major consolidator across the European payments industry, while merchant acquirer Worldpay is going through its third change of ownership since 2018.
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