First Abu Dhabi Starts Sale of $1 Billion Payments Arm

First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC has kicked off the sale of a stake in its payments business Magnati, in a potential deal that could value the unit at about $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said. 

The banking group is working with Morgan Stanley to reach out to potential investors, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The sale could attract interest from companies in the financial industry as well as private equity firms, the people said. 

FAB is considering keeping a stake in Magnati after any deal, the people said. Deliberations are ongoing, and no final decisions on the scope of the potential disposal have been taken, according to the people. 

A representative for FAB declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Morgan Stanley didn’t immediately provide comment.

FAB, the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, completed the carveout of its payments business into a fully-owned subsidiary in April. Any sale would add to a flurry of dealmaking in the global payments industry, spurred in part by banks seeking to offload operations as they struggle to compete with specialist providers.

In 2015, private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic bought a stake in Network International Holdings Plc, a payments provider backed by Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, before listing the business in London less than four years later.

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