COPENHAGEN Dec 30 French IT services company Atos has hired Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas to advise it about a takeover of Nets, Europe's second-largest card payment services company, daily business paper Borsen said on Monday.
Nets, which competes in Europe with market leader WorldPay, hired U.S. bank JP Morgan to sell the business for between 1 and 2 billion euros ($1.4-2.8 billion), four people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters in June.
"It has very high priority for Atos," an anonymous source with knowledge on Atos' plan told Borsen.
An Atos spokeswoman declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.
According to Danish media reports, at least two other groups are also working on bids for Nets, which is controlled by Denmark's central bank and a group of Nordic lenders.
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.
Denmark's central bank, Nationalbanken, 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. ($1 = 0.7258 euros) (Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen and Alexandre Boksenbaum-Granier; Editing by David Holmes)