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US payments firm Vantiv agrees tie-up with Worldpay

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London (AFP)

US payment processing giant Vantiv has agreed to take over British peer Worldpay, the pair said Wednesday, to create a global giant worth $27 billion.

The deal was billed as a merger, with Worldpay shareholders owning 41 percent of the new group, whose current combined stock market capitalisation is the equivalent of about 24 billion euros including debt. Under the cash-and-shares deal, Vantiv is paying around $11 billion including debt for Worldpay.

"The boards of directors Worldpay and Vantiv Inc. are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement in principle on the key terms of a potential merger," the pair said in a statement.

The news came one day after Worldpay's share price rocketed on news it had received takeover approaches from both Vantiv and banking giant JPMorgan Chase. The latter on Wednesday said it would not come back with a formal rival offer for Worldpay.

"The boards of Worldpay and Vantiv see compelling strategic, commercial and financial rationale for combining Worldpay and Vantiv's complementary businesses," they added on Wednesday.

"The... merger creates a scale world class payments group in a dynamic market, with deep payments capabilities, product and vertical expertise and strong distribution channels to serve merchants around the world in the global ecommerce market, and in-store and online in the UK and US markets."

The two companies added that "substantial opportunities" for cost savings had been identified.

Worldpay has 400,000 customers and was owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland until the state-backed lender sold off its remaining stake to private equity firms Advent International and Bain Capital in 2013.

Two years later, the company sealed the biggest flotation of 2015 when it listed on the London Stock Exchange.

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