Payment technology company Paya plans to sell

(Bloomberg) – Paya Holdings Inc., a payments technology company that went public in 2020 through a blank check deal, is exploring a potential sale in a takeover, people say close to the file.

Paya is working with an adviser of interest on the ground, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. Large, publicly traded payment companies are surrounding the company as bidders, the people said.

No agreement has been reached and talks could end without an agreement, or the company could still decide to remain independent, the sources said.

Paya rose 2.3% to close at $5.37 in New York on Friday, giving it a market value of around $709 million.

A representative for Paya did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The payments industry has consolidated rapidly in recent years, as big players such as Global Payments Inc. and Fiserv Inc. have co-opted smaller rivals to gain scale and diversify. The sector has also seen strong growth during the pandemic, which has accelerated the shift to cashless payments.

Paya helps insurers, utilities, nonprofits and other customers collect payments and process checks, among other services, according to its website.

It merged with a special-purpose acquisition company backed by serial trader Betsy Cohen at the height of the SPAC craze. Its shares have fallen more than 50% since the deal was struck. Chicago-based private equity firm GCTR is its largest shareholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Truist Financial Corp. analyst Andrew W. Jeffrey said last month that the company was trading at a lower price than its peers, as measured by the price-earnings ratio.

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