Worldline payments deal lends dealmaking firepower: SIX

ZURICH (Reuters) - French group Worldline's WLN.PA purchase of the payments unit of Swiss stock exchange operator SIX Group in a $2.75 billion deal lends the combined entity muscle to press on with consolidation in the sector, SIX Chairman Romeo Lacher told Reuters.

The stock-and-cash accord unveiled on Tuesday is the latest example of financial sector companies’ seeking to benefit from the shift towards electronic and online payments.

SIX Payment Services is getting 338 million Swiss francs ($338 million) in cash plus a 27 percent stake in the French company, in which Atos ATOS.PA will retain its majority 51 percent stake.

“The advantage of Worldline is that they have a very strong balance sheet, they are not indebted, and we are not either. That means we have an extreme amount of firepower to drive consolidation in Europe if it goes down the M&A track,” Lacher said in an interview.

Lacher said SIX would keep its stake at least for the medium term.

Writing by Michael Shields, editing by John Revill