Billionaire Shetty Said to Hire Evercore on Money Exchange IPO

(Bloomberg) -- Middle East billionaire Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty hired Evercore Inc. to advise on a potential initial public offering for his financial-services company, according to people with knowledge the matter, as he seeks to expand a sprawling empire built on offering money transfers and currency-exchange services.

Finablr, the holding company for businesses including Travelex Holdings Ltd. and the UAE Exchange Centre LLC, is weighing a share sale in London as early as next year that may value the business at billions of dollars, said the people, asking not to be identified as the information is private. More advisers could be hired in the next few months, they said. No final decisions have been taken and the plans could change, the people said.

The timing of an IPO is yet to be determined, according to Finablr Executive Director Promoth Manghat. The company is currently “focused on accelerating our transformation efforts,” he said. Representatives for Evercore couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Shetty set up Finablr last month to consolidate his financial services brands, which include Xpress Money. The firm employs over 18,000 people and handles more than 150 million transactions. Shetty is also the founder of NMC Health Plc, which trades in London and is part of the benchmark FTSE 100 Index.

Shetty and entities linked to Saeed Bin Butti Al Qubaisi’s Abu Dhabi-based Centurion Investments in 2015 bought a majority stake in Travelex, which had revenue of 786 million pounds ($1 billion) last year, from private equity firm Apax Partners.

Finablr, based in the U.K., has said it plans to support expansion efforts by its divisions including $250 million to $300 million in acquisitions and strategic investments by the UAE Exchange unit. The financial group competes for a slice of the global remittances market, which is dominated by 266 million migrant workers who sent a record $466 billion to developing countries last year, according to World Bank data.

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