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Nets' IPO pricing values Danish payments business at up to $4.8 billion

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark-based card payment services company Nets set an indicative price range for its planned initial public offering (IPO) that values the business at up to $4.8 billion, nearly double the sum paid by two U.S. equity firms in 2014.

Scandinavia’s largest payments processor said on Tuesday that it expects to price the offering at 130-160 Danish crowns per share when it lists on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange on Sept. 27, indicating a valuation of 26 billion to 32 billion Danish crowns ($3.92 billion to $4.83 billion).

Nets, issuer of the most used debit card in Denmark, Dankort, will offer between 40 percent and 60 percent of its total share capital. That includes up to 42.3 million new shares expected to raise proceeds of about 5.5 billion crowns.

The IPO, Europe’s second biggest since Britain’s June vote to leave the EU, comes only two years after its 17 billion crown acquisition by private equity firms Advent International and Bain Capital along with Danish pension fund ATP in March 2014.

“There is clearly a real appreciation of the transformation Nets has undergone in the past two years,” Chief Executive Bo Nilsson said in a statement.

Since mid-2014 Nilsson has made seven acquisitions, sacked hundreds of staff and invested more than 800 million crowns on IT.

Advent and Bain were also behind British payments processor Worldpay Group's WPG.L 4.8 billion pound ($6.34 billion). London listing last October.

The next challenge for Nets will to navigate an increasingly competitive online payments sector that includes card network rivals Visa V.N and MasterCard MA.N as well as payment processing companies such as Worldpay and Wirecard WDIG.DE and Danske Bank's DANSKE.CO Mobilepay service in the Nordics.

As more consumers ditch cash, European online payments businesses such as iZettle and SumUp face tougher competition in their domestic markets from North American rivals such as San Francisco-based Square SQ.N.

Existing Nets shareholders will sell between 37.7 million and 70.6 million of their shares while managers at the company have been granted an overallotment option of up to 15.75 million shares, Nets said.

The offer period starts Sept. 13 and ends Sept. 26, but it could be closed as early as Sept 22, the company added.

Deutsche Bank DBKGn.DE, Morgan Stanley MS.N and Nordea NDA.ST have been appointed as joint global co-ordinators and joint bookrunners.

Nets this month reported a 13 percent rise in first-half earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization before special items (EBITDA) to 1.2 billion Danish crowns for the first six months of 2016 corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 33.4 percent.

Additional reporting by Pamela Barbaglia and Annabella Pultz Nielsen; Editing by Jason Neely and David Goodman

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