Abraaj, Helios Said to Be Among Possible Bidders for Actis’ EMP

(Bloomberg) — Private-equity firms Abraaj Group and Helios Investment Partners are among potential bidders for Actis’s payment services firm Emerging Markets Payments Group, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

A formal bidding process for EMP, which may fetch about $400 million, could start as soon as this month, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The sale may also draw rivals that want to expand in emerging markets, they said.

Actis, which has about $6.5 billion of funds under management, according to its website, is working with Morgan Stanley to explore a sale of EMP, people with knowledge of the matter said in February.

 Abraaj already has investments in the payments-services industry, after it acquired a 49 percent stake in credit-card processor Network International for about $540 million in 2011, from Dubai-based lender Emirates NBD PJSC.

EMP provides services to more than 130 banks and 30,000 retailers and other merchants across 45 countries in the Middle East and Africa, according to its website.

Representatives for Abraaj, Actis, Helios and Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

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