LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) - Private equity firm Apax is in talks to sell Travelex to the owner of the UAE Exchange, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday, suggesting a rethink of its planned 1 billion-pound ($1.7 billion) listing of the foreign exchange company.
Apax is in talks with Bavaguthu Shetty, the owner of money transfer service UAE exchange, which has over 6 million customers in 30 countries, the sources said, adding that Shetty was considering fully purchasing Travelex along with a consortium of investors.
The talks are a "serious consideration" for Apax, which bought a controlling stake in Travelex in 2005, one of the sources said.
A deal is expected to come through in the coming days, although nothing has been signed as yet, the other source said.
Apax had originally planned to list Travelex on the London Stock Exchange in May or June this year, in a flotation potentially worth over 1 billion pounds.
However the market for initial public offerings (IPOs) has cooled in recent weeks, with UK companies from Saga IPO-SAGA.L to Card Factory struggling to attract investor interest.
Private equity groups usually prefer to sell their investments to other companies, in so-called trade sales, as it allows them to realize their investment in one go.
Last year, Travelex had earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 80.1 million pounds. Its listing was due to be run by JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.
Travelex was not immediately available for comment. ($1 = 0.5931 British Pounds) (Reporting by Freya Berry)