French IT giant Atos has announced it is spinning out its online payments arm Worldline in a move which the company believes could raise up to €610m.
Around 30% of Worldine, which previously included an NFC mobile wallet service, will go on sale in an initial public offering (IPO) at around €16-20 per share, Worldline CEO Gilles Grapinet confirmed to investors, with Atos retaining the other 70%. The move values the entire group at around €2-2.4bn.
The float will be made up of €255m worth of new shares along with Atos' sale of €355m worth of existing Worldline shares.
The new funds should allow Worldline, which currently employs 7,200 workers across Europe, the opportunity to further expand, the company said, adding that it was looking to use as much as €1bn to fund acquisitions on the continent.
Atos decided to float the unit, whose business it considers as non-core, as part of a strategy shift announced last November, which will see the company focusing on core activities such as information technology and services.
"The IPO marks a new chapter in Worldline's history and will open exciting opportunities for the group, its clients and its employees," Grapinet said of the news.
"It comes at a unique moment of opportunity for growth, thanks to the convergence of three phenomena: the digital and mobile revolution, the changes in the regulatory framework for the European payments sector and the shift in strategy by many banks following the financial crisis."
"As an innovative high-tech market leader in the European e-payments market, our IPO will help us take advantage of the forthcoming consolidation and future growth of the sector."
Recent figures estimate that the number of payments made online or by mobile is set to skyrocket over the next few years, with research by PayPoint predicting that by 2019, nearly 20% of all payments made in the UK will use such methods.
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