Thoma Bravo plans IPO of software firm MeridianLink -sources

(Reuters) - Private equity firm Thoma Bravo is gearing up for an initial public offering of MeridianLink, which could value the U.S. financial software provider at more than $3 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The preparations come as MeridianLink, whose software is used by banks and credit unions to set up loans and deposit accounts, has benefited from the popularity of online banking and digital payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thoma Bravo plans to take MeridianLink public later this year and has hired investment banks to handle the listing, the sources said. It is possible that MeridianLink would go public by merging with a special purpose acquisition vehicle (SPAC), rather than a traditional IPO, two of the sources said.

The sources requested anonymity because the matter is confidential. Thoma Bravo declined comment, while MeridianLink did not respond to a request for comment.

Thoma Bravo acquired the Costa Mesa, California-based company in 2018, and immediately merged it with units of Italian financial services firm CRIF SpA to create a larger business under the MeridianLink brand.

As part of that deal, CRIF became a shareholder in MeridianLink, according to a statement at the time.

The pandemic has highlighted how financial institutions need safe and effective digital channels to serve customers, but smaller banks usually don’t have the resources to invest in developing such systems themselves, instead turning to third-party providers such as MeridianLink.

Reporting by David French in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky