UPDATE 3-France's Ingenico gets $1.9 bln takeover offer
* Received non-binding, all-cash offer on Dec. 14
* Offer at 28 eur/shr
* Shares suspended, talks ongoing
* U.S.-based Danaher is the bidder -media reports
(Adds media reports on bidder)
By Lionel Laurent and Marie Mawad
PARIS, Dec 17 (Reuters) - French payment services provider Ingenico (INGC.PA) said on Friday it was in talks with an unnamed party after receiving a 1.44 billion euro ($1.92 billion) takeover offer as dealmaking heats up in the sector.
French newspaper Les Echos and Bloomberg wrote on Friday evening that the bidder was U.S. group Danaher (DHR.N), a $30 billion company based in Washington D.C. that sells medical, industrial and consumer products. Danaher did not return calls for comment.
Ingenico, whose shares were suspended from trading on Friday, declined to comment on the reports. Its statement on Friday morning did not identify the bidder, saying it would give a further update before normal trading resumes on Dec. 20.
The non-binding all-cash offer, received on Dec. 14, was priced at 28 euros per Ingenico share, the company said, or 9.6 percent higher than the closing price on Dec. 13. The stock last closed on Thursday at 27.59 euros.
Ingenico, 22.5 percent-owned by aerospace equipment maker Safran (SAF.PA), has been a target of takeover speculation, with traders citing Britain's Sage Group (SGE.L) and auction site eBay (EBAY.O) as possible bidders. Safran was unavailable for comment on Friday. Sage declined to comment.
Big-name technology firms are seen competing to acquire niche software groups in 2011 as part of a growth plan they hope will cater to recession-hit clients clamouring for a wider range of services. [ID:nLDE6BF0K0].
Consolidation hit the payments sector in November when VeriFone Systems Inc (PAY.N) agreed to buy smaller rival Hypercom Corp HYC.N, once a target for Ingenico. [ID:nSGE6AG099]
Ingenico has about 30 percent of the global payments market and competes with VeriFone (PAY.N) and Hypercom HYC.N. It makes the hardware that processes credit card purchases in stores and is expanding into other transaction services.
This will expand its addressable market from 2.5 to 10 billion euros, according to the company. Another area of expansion is the adoption of mobile payments via smartphones.
Analysts consider Ingenico a growth stock, and a report by Berenberg Bank predicted it could hit 13 percent compound annual growth rates through 2013 as it expands.
Asked by Reuters whether the price of 28 euros was too low, several analysts said they would wait for the identity and strategy of the potential acquirer before judging.
"It won't just be a question of price," said one Paris-based analyst, adding the Ingenico management team was well respected by markets and their departure wouldn't be seen favourably.
Shares of Ingenico have gained 71 percent this year versus a flat CAC-40 blue-chip stock index in Paris.
The group reported a 31.6 percent rise in third-quarter revenue, to 231.8 million euros, driven by strong growth in Asia-Pacific economies such as China and Australia.
(Additional reporting by Leila Abboud, Blaise Robinson; Editing by Erica Billingham and David Hulmes)
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