Kirkland & Ellis is advising a group of private equity firms on the acquisition of Danish secure payments provider Nets in a cash deal worth $3.1 billion.
Announced Monday, the deal requires that the buyers—led by Advent International and Bain Capital, along with Danish pension fund ATP—pay Nets shareholders roughly $17 in cash for each of the Copenhagen-based target’s shares. Nets shareholders will also receive a dividend worth about 50 cents per share. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter, pending regulatory approval.
Nets provides companies and individuals with digital payment services and also issues payment cards used in 6 billion transactions last year. The company employs 2,600 people and has operations in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Norway.
Nets chairman Peter Lybecker said the company’s sale follows an extensive strategic review that resulted in the Nets board’s decision to find “a new owner with the expertise, commitment and financial resources to develop the business in a rapidly changing payments industry.” The acquirers intend to expand Nets’ reach across Northern Europe. Bain Capital managing director Robin Marshall said in a statement: “Nets is a household name across the Nordics with a strong reputation built on a foundation of trust. … We bring a strong pool of operating resources and are committed to supporting the company’s management in accelerating the growth and maximizing the potential of Nets.”
Kirkland is representing the buyers with a team that includes London-based corporate partners Sam Pakbaz and Justin Hutchinson. Debt finance partners Neel Sachdev and Christopher Shield are also advising, as are tax partner Ian Taplin and competition partner Sarah Jordan.
As one of the legal industry’s top private equity advisers, Kirkland has a history of representing both Advent and Bain. In November, the firm advised Advent portfolio company Oberthur Technologies Holding on a $261.9 million senior notes offering. The firm also represented another Bain-led buyout group last year on the $6.9 billion purchase of BMC Software.
Advising the private equity consortium on local aspects of the Nets deal are Denmark firm Accura, Finnish firm Hannes Snellman and Norway’s Wiersholm.
Nets, meanwhile, is being represented by a legal team that includes Danish firms Gorrissen Federspiel and Bech Bruun as well as Norwegian firm BA-HR and Finland’s Roschier. Bech Bruun and Roschier previously advised Nets on its purchase of Finnish payment services rival Luttokunta for about $230 million in 2012.