Nordic Capital among potential bidders for card payment firm Nets

COPENHAGEN Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:04am EST

COPENHAGEN Dec 17 (Reuters) - Swedish private equity firm Nordic Capital and Denmark's TryghedsGruppen are in a consortium preparing to bid for Europe's second-largest card payment services company Nets, one of the parties said.

Nets, which competes in Europe with market leader WorldPay, hired U.S. bank JP Morgan to sell the business for 1-2 billion euros ($1.4-2.8 billion) four people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters in June..

Two other groups are also working on bids for Nets, which is controlled by Denmark's central bank and a group of Nordic lenders, according to Danish media reports on Tuesday.

Private equity firm EQT has teamed up with Goldman Sachs , while Danish state-owned pension fund ATP is working with U.S.-based private equity firms Advent International and Bain, which together own WorldPay.

Spokesmen from ATP and EQT declined to comment.

Card payment services companies, which process debit and credit card transactions between businesses and their customers, are an attractive investment for private equity firms because they offer steady cash flows.

"I can confirm we are in a consortium with Nordic Capital," a spokeswoman from TryghedsGruppen, the majority shareholder in Denmark's biggest non-life insurance group Tryg, said on Tuesday.

She declined to comment on media reports that Sweden's state pension fund AP Fund and Finnish pension fund Ilmarinen were also part of that consortium.

Danmarks Nationalbank controls 9.9 percent of shares in Nets while Nordea holds around 20 percent, DNB Nord around 18 percent and Danske Bank around 17 percent.

A Nets spokeswoman declined to comment.