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Warburg Pincus, General Atlantic in talks to invest in UAE payments firm

DUBAI, 9 November [Reuters] – Private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic are expected to announce a joint deal this week to invest in United Arab Emirates-based payments provider Network International, according to sources.

One of the sources said the stake would be purchased from Abraaj Group, which holds a 49 per cent stake in the company.

Private equity firm Abraaj hired investment bank Moelis & Co to advise it on options for selling its stake in the company, either though a private sale or stock market listing, Reuters reported in September.

Network International is the largest payment processor in the Middle East and Africa, with a presence across more than 40 countries. Emirates NBD ENBD.DU, Dubai’s largest bank, holds a 51 per cent stake in the company.

There has been strong interest in the global payments processing space in recent months.

British payments processor Worldpay listed on the London Stock Exchange last month in an initial public offering valuing the company at 4.8 billion pounds ($7.4 billion), at the time the biggest flotation in London this year.

Warburg, which has around $35 billion in global assets under management, has previously been active in the region. It acquired a majority stake in Dubai-based technology company Mercator, it said in April last year. That was the company’s first direct investment in the region.

The Network International investment would be General Atlantic’s first in the Middle East, said one of the sources.

General Atlantic, Warburg Pincus and Abraaj declined to comment.