Sage offloads struggling North American payments business to private equity for £202

Lucy White
Sage sells SPS to GTCR
Sage is selling the business as its strategy does not entirely fit with the group's (Source: Pixabay)

London-listed Sage Group, a business offering accounting and payroll software to enterprises, has sold its North American payments business to Chicago private equity firm GTCR.

The deal values Sage Payment Solutions (SPS) at $260m (£202) and comes after the branch reported poor sales earlier this year, causing Sage Group's share price to dip temporarily.

SPS's revenue dropped from £74m in the first half of the last financial year to £72m in the same period this year, while operating profit took a hit from £19m to £18m.

But rather than wiping its hands of the division, Sage has said SPS will continue to be an important partner.

“We recently outlined our updated payments and banking strategy – which included exiting areas of the payments market where the strategic fit is not as strong as the rest of the business, whilst continuing to build on our growing network of partnerships within the payments and banking sector,” said Sage's chief executive Stephen Kelly.

SPS reported revenues of £130m last year, with an operating contribution of £34m. Sage will bag $240m in cash from its sale, while the other $20m will be issued as a bond.

This will not be the first time that Sage has passed non-core assets to private equity. In 2013 it sold C&I, ATL, Automotive and Aytos to Argos Soditic, a French firm, and Sage Nonprofit Solutions to Accel-KKR.

Along with two other divisions which it sold to Swiftpage, a technology provider to small businesses, the flurry of deals made Sage £93.4m. However, it did record a loss on the disposals.

Sage is currently trading at a price of 729p per share.

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