ION, NEC Said to Compete for Stake in Swiss Tech Firm Avaloq

ION, the fintech consolidator, and Japanese conglomerate NEC Corp. are among suitors competing for a stake in Swiss banking software provider Avaloq Group AG, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Private equity firms Apax Partners, Motive Partners and Nordic Capital have also been invited to proceed to the second round of bidding, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Avaloq’s owners are seeking a valuation of as much as 2 billion Swiss francs ($2.2 billion) in any deal, the people said.

Buyout firm Warburg Pincus, which bought 35% of Avaloq in 2017, has been exploring a potential stake sale since last year, Bloomberg News has reported. Avaloq Chairman Francisco Fernandez is considering selling a controlling stake in the business alongside Warburg Pincus, the people said.

Technology dealmaking has held up relatively well amid the coronavirus downturn, with $124 billion of transactions announced in Europe since the start of the year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the suitors will proceed with binding offers, the people said.

Representatives for Apax, Avaloq, NEC, Nordic and Warburg Pincus declined to comment. Representatives for ION and Motive couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Avaloq provides software for financial institutions that helps underpin digital banking and wealth management platforms. Its clients include Barclays Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc and Societe Generale SA, according to its website. Faced with increasing competition from disruptive startups, banks and investment managers continue to overhaul legacy computer systems to better cater for customer demand for products to manage money online.

The company’s technology is used to manage about 4.5 trillion Swiss francs of client assets, according to its website. Warburg Pincus’s investment in Avaloq over three years ago valued the business at more than 1 billion Swiss francs, it said at the time.

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