Italy's Nexi in talks to buy stake in Alpha Bank's payment business - sources

FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of the Italian payments group Nexi are pictured in Milan, Italy, March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian payments group Nexi is in talks with Alpha Bank to take a stake in the Greek bank’s retailers payment business, four sources close to the matter said on Friday.

Nexi, which is in the process of merging with smaller domestic rival SIA, would set up a joint-venture with Alpha which wants to retain a presence in the business, two of the sources said.

Alpha, Nexi and SIA all declined to comment.

Separately, two of the sources said SIA was also in discussions to buy Greece’s payment network firm Cardlink.

The two deals “would make Nexi-SIA a key player in the Greek payments market,” Jefferies analysts said in a note.

The broker said Alpha Bank and rival Piraeus Bank together held at least 30% of Greece’s in-store payment market.

Alpha Bank’s retailers payment business processed around 9 billion euros in volumes in 2018 of which around 68% was linked to domestic card transactions, Jefferies said.

News of the two transactions was first reported by MF.

Reporting by Valentina Za, Elisa Anzolin and Steve Jewkes in Milan; George Giorgiopolous in Athens, editing by Maria Pia Quaglia and Elaine Hardcastle