Worldpay staff get windfall in £3.5bn float


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The Independent Online

Top staff at Worldpay are in line for at least £100m after the payment-processing company’s private equity owners fired the starting gun on London’s biggest float of the year.

Advent and Bain Capital, which bought Worldpay from Royal Bank of Scotland in 2010 for £2bn, are looking to raise £890m from selling a stake of at least 25 per cent, putting a £3.5bn price tag on the company. That beats the previous biggest London listing, March’s £2.3bn float of Auto Trader. Including debt, the Worldpay deal is worth about £6bn.

Sources said around 200 senior managers, including its chief executive Philip Jansen, are in line for the paper fortune, although all of Worldpay’s 4,500 staff will share in the windfall.

Long-servers at the company will receive £6,000 in shares or cash, with more recent starters getting around £1,000. Certain directors and senior staff are expected to hold on to at least 75 per cent of their stakes for up to three years.

Its new chairman Sir Mike Rake is steering Worldpay on to the public markets, aided by a flotilla of advisers and brokers as well as a heavy-hitting board including RSA Insurance chairman Martin Scicluna. Advent and Bain have gone for the float after considering bids for the business from a Blackstone-led private equity consortium and French payments firm Ingenico.

Worldpay should go straight into the FTSE 100 when it commences trading in October. It will use the float proceeds to cut its £2bn debt, pay for more acquisitions, and allow Advent and Bain to take some cash off the table.

The company, whose clients range from retail giants Tesco and Marks & Spencer to small businesses, provides the technology that allows merchants to accept payments by cards and other methods.

It handles around 40 per cent of web sales in Europe and last year processed 11.5 billion transactions totalling £370bn. Revenues topped £3.6bn in 2014, generating underlying profits of £374.7m.

Its UK business accounted for 42 per cent of transactions last year, encompassing around 300,000 UK and Ireland-based sellers.

The US arm, which Ingenico would have spun off if its offer had been accepted, has around 137,000 customers.

Worldpay can trace its history back to 1989 when it was an electronic payments firm known as Streamline. The business was bought by Royal Bank of Scotland in 2002 and renamed RBS Worldpay.

In 2010, following the bank’s £45bn taxpayer rescue, RBS had to sell it to comply with European state aid rules. Since then, the new owners have invested £1bn in the business.