Fidelity National Information Services and Fiserv have each bid more than $1.5 billion for US electronic payments firm eFunds, according to a Bloomberg report.
Arizona-based eFunds said last month that it was exploring potential merger opportunities after being approached by un-named parties. The vendor has appointed Goldman Sachs and BlackRock as financial advisers "to assist it in exploring all of its options, including potential merger opportunities".
Shares in eFunds have surged 26% since it disclosed the merger talks. Furthermore, New York-based hedge fund Scoggin Capital Management said last week that it had acquired a 6.8% stake in eFunds.
According to the Bloomberg report, which cites people familiar with the discussions, at least four suitors have offered to buy eFunds, including Fidelity and Fiserv.
The auction has now moved to a second round of bidding, says the report.
An eFunds acquisition would be the third multi-billion-dollar transaction within the US payments industry this year. In April private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) said it was buying out First Data in a $29 billion deal and a day later Marshall & Ilsley (M&I) confirmed plans to spin off of its fintech unit Metavante into a public company worth around $4.25 billion.