Banks to sell VocaLink stake

Banks to sell VocaLink stake

The banks and building societies that own UK transaction processing outfit VocaLink are in negotiations to sell a minority stake in the venture.

In a statement responding to UK press reports over the weekend, Vocalink has confirmed that, over the past few months, discussions have been taking place with a number of undisclosed investors about a possible stake sale.

Details of the investment have not been disclosed due to "the commercially sensitive nature of the discussions" but, according to a Sunday Times report the transaction would value the business at around £500 million.

VocaLink says it is now "in the final stages of selecting a chosen partner", with the decision expected to be made public in June.

The company, owned by around 20 UK banks and building societies, was created last year through the merger of the Bacs payments and clearing network and ATM network operator Link.

VocaLink says the new investment will be used to finance its expansion into new markets across Europe and Asia-Pacific as well as the expansion of its managed service for ATMs and development of its real time payment capabilities outside the UK.

Vocalink has already moved to take advantage of the the Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) with its €CSM partnership, which provides banks and clients with Sepa-related services. A number of major banks - including ABN Amro, Bank of America, Citi, Dexia Bank, Fortis, Lloyds TSB, RBS and Santander - are signed up to the service.

The company also has ambitions to market the Faster Payments hub, built to speed up the processing of payments at UK banks, to other international markets.

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