RBS gets six advanced bids for Global Merchant Services

ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND is reviewing six second-round bids for its $4bn (£2.7bn) payment-processing arm, and will soon pick two or three suitors for a final round of bidding, people familiar with the matter said.

RBS could pick the shortlist as early as next week and aims to agree the sale of its Global Merchant Services (GMS) business during the third quarter, one of the people said.

The six bidding groups are: Clayton, Dubilier & Rice; American Express Co and Permira; Atos Origin, CVC Capital Partners and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe; Advent International and Bain Capital; Canada’s Moneris Solutions; and TPG, the people said.

Previous suitor Warburg Pincus is no longer bidding, they added.

RBS declined to comment. Moneris could not immediately be reached for comment. The other bidding groups either declined to comment or had no immediate comment.

The bidding consortia are an eclectic mix of names because the bank has told private equity buyers they need to team up with strategic partners who will be able to grapple with the complex nature of the payments business. GMS handles more than half the face-to-face credit and debit card transactions in the UK, and RBS is said to have been concerned a pure private equity player would not have the scale or expertise to run the business properly.