* Co-CEOs had mulled 400 mln euro-plus sale last year
* Rivals include eBay’s PayPal, Western Union
* Morgan Stanley, Jefferies to work on listing -sources
(Adds reference to SmartStream sale)
By Quentin Webb and Chris Vellacott
LONDON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Investcorp INVB.BH, the Bahrain-based investment bank, plans to float Moneybookers, the fast-growing European online payment firm it tried to sell last year, four people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
Investcorp has hired Morgan Stanley and Jefferies to help prepare for a stockmarket listing, the people said. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is also likely to have a role, two of the people added.
News of the potential flotation emerged as another Internet-focused company, Betfair, opened the books on a planned flotation that would value the online betting exchange at up to 1.5 billion pounds ($2.4 billion). [ID:nLDE696072]
In Dubai, meanwhile, the owners of financial software firm SmartStream, whose trade-processing technology is used by three-quarters of the world’s top banks, are separately seeking buyers for that company, people familiar with the matter said. [ID:nLDE69629X]
London-based Moneybookers hired JPMorgan to explore a potential sale last year but later shelved the auction.
Its co-chief executives told Reuters then that it had been approached by major Internet companies, U.S. payment processors and private equity firms about a potential deal and it could fetch more than 400 million euros ($560 million).
Moneybookers competes with online auctioneer eBay’s (EBAY.O) Paypal service, and with money transfer companies including Western Union Co (WU.N) for “peer-to-peer” business such as helping expatriates send money home. It also handles payments for gambling websites.
Investcorp hopes the London listing, of perhaps a third of the company, could place a value of more than 500 million euros on the whole, one of the people said.
But this person said that target appeared ambitious, particularly if Moneybookers were to command a similar valuation multiple to the gaming websites it serves.
Investcorp, Moneybookers and Morgan Stanley declined to comment. A Jefferies spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Moneybookers recorded a near-40 percent rise in turnover in 2009 to 48.06 million euros, an annual report filed with Britain’s Companies House shows.
Net profit rose 18.6 percent to 16.85 million euros. Moneybookers said it enjoyed some of the highest margins in the payments industry.
Investcorp has owned a majority stake in Moneybookers since March 2007. ($1=.6274 Pound) ($1=.7149 euros) (Editing by Will Waterman)