Sabadell picks Nexi as preferred bidder for payments business -sources

MADRID, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Sabadell (SABE.MC) has picked Italian payments group Nexi (NEXII.MI) as the preferred bidder to acquire the Spanish bank's retailers' payments business, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Nexi prevailed over rival Worldline (WLN.PA) after it submitted an offer worth around 400 million euros, one of the sources said.

The business that handles shopowners' payments is a source of stable income for banks, but technology advances and tight competition in the sector require hefty investments, prompting an increasing number of banks to dispose of all or part of it.

Under the deal, Sabadell would retain an exclusive right to commercialize loans or execute financial transactions with the customers whose payments are set to be handled externally.

Spun-off banking assets such as the point of sale (POS) business are attractive for investors because they carry lucrative long-term contracts with buyers that will continue to provide the externalised service.

In Spain, Sabadell has a strong presence in payments, accounting for nearly 16.9% of the country's overall POS revenue generated as of September.

Its retailers payments business recorded sales of 47.5 billion euros in 2022 compared to 35.7 billion euros in 2021.

Reporting by Jesus Aguado in Madrid and Valentina Za in Milan; Editing by Sandra Maler

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