Helios Partners plans to sell majority stake in Interswitch
- Helios paid $96 million for majority equity in Interswitch in 2010.
- Other shareholders in Interswitch are Adlevo Capital Partners and International Finance Corporation.
Helios Investment Partners, a London-based Africa-focused private equity firm, is planning to sell its controlling stake in Interswitch, Nigeria’s leading payments processing company.
According to Bloomberg, Helios is working with Citigroup, an American financial services giant, to divest its 52 percent stake in Interswitch. Helios had paid $96 million for majority equity in Interswitch in 2010.
Helios’ divestment from Interswitch is set to attract strong interest from financial sponsors or rivals interested in the global payments processing industry. Since last year, Interswitch has been exploring a dual listing through an initial public offering in London and Lagos.
Interswitch has been at the forefront of Nigeria’s rapidly growing e-payments sector. The company owns Verve, a widely-used brand of debit cards, in addition to processing payments for most Nigerian banks. Interswitch was founded in 2002 by Mitchell Elegbe, its Chief Executive Officer, and has operations in four other African countries – Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Gambia.
Helios Investment Partners is one of the largest private equity funds focused on Africa. The company operates a family of funds, which has invested over $3 billion in African businesses. Some of Helios’ investments in Nigeria-based businesses include Helios Towers, a leading telecoms tower operator; FCMB, a mid-sized Nigerian banking group; and ARM, a leading pension fund manager. Helios was founded in 2004 by co-partners Tope Lawani and Babatunde Soyoye.
Other shareholders in Interswitch are Adlevo Capital Partners, Mauritius-based private equity fund manager, and International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group.
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