Warburg Pincus picks adviser to sell airline services firm Accelya: sources

MADRID/LONDON (Reuters) - The private equity owner of European airline services firm Accelya has hired Bank of America to sell the business in a deal that could value the company at up to 1.5 billion euros $1.67 billion), two sources familiar with the matter said.

U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus, which has backed Barcelona-based Accelya for just over two years, plans to launch an auction process after the summer, the sources said.

The company - which serves more than 200 airlines including British Airways and EasyJet - is expected to appeal to both industry players and other buyout funds, they said.

Warburg Pincus and Bank of America declined to comment.

Founded in 1976, Accelya specializes in financial, commercial, cargo and analytics solutions and handles more than 5 billion financial transactions and 75 million tonnes of cargo annually.

Warburg Pincus bought Accelya from French private equity firm Chequers Capital in 2017 and used it as a merger platform for Mercator, a Dubai-based travel services group in which the U.S. buyout firm had been an investor since 2014.

When the merger was announced in February 2017 Warburg Pincus estimated the combined entity to generate annual revenue in excess of $200 million.

One of the sources said Spanish rival Amadeus AMA.MC, which has a market value of 30 billion euros and revenue margins of around 40%, could be a possible bidder.

“Amadeus could be keen to study an offer because they initially expressed interest in Mercator,” the source said, cautioning that negotiations had yet to start.

Accelya controls an Indian listed subsidiary, Accelya Kale Solutions AKSL.NS, which has a market value of about $162 million.

Last year Accelya entered a partnership with Mastercard to launch the Accelya Payment Gateway, a platform offering global payment acceptance across an array of payment methods.

Editing by David Evans