Wordline shares surge on report Credit Agricole could take stake

PARIS (Reuters) – Shares in Worldline surged almost 12% on Friday after a media report said Credit Agricole was considering acquiring a stake in the French payment processing company.

The French lender is exploring building a stake in Worldline in an effort to help stabilise its struggling payments partner, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Other French financial institutions could also look at playing a role in Worldline’s future, Bloomberg added, citing some of the people.

Credit Agricole and Worldline declined to comment.

Earlier this year, the companies signed a binding agreement to set up a joint venture to provide payment services to businesses and their customers. They expect to receive the necessary approvals by the end of this year before launching in early 2024.

Shares in Worldline pared some of their initial gains to stand 5% higher at 1220 GMT.

The stock lost more than half its value in late October, sending ripples through the sector, after Worldline shocked investors with a cut to its full year financial targets due to the economic slowdown, particularly in Germany.

It also severed ties with some of its merchants to reduce risks citing an increase in cybercrime.

Italian payments company Nexi last month confirmed its guidance while the Netherlands’ Adyen reassured the market with its “more realistic” medium-term guidance.

Worldline shares have fallen more than 58% this year.

(Reporting by Piotr Lipinski; Editing by Sharon Singleton, Kirsten Donovan)