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Barclays explores sale of stake in $2.5 billion UK payments unit

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 Barclays Plc (BARC.L) is exploring the sale of a stake in the unit that processes payments for UK merchants as the British bank seeks a partner to help grow the business, four people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The bank is considering bringing in a partner with the strategic “know-how” to expand the business, as well as raising capital, but has yet to decide how big a stake it might sell, said the people.

The business could be valued at at least 2 billion pounds ($2.5 billion), based on estimated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of about 300 million pounds and similar deals, one of the people said.The early-stage discussions are part of a review into its global payment activities spanning merchant acquiring and credit card services, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Barclays distributed a presentation on its domestic merchant acquiring unit to potential bidders – mainly specialist payments providers – over the summer, two of the people said, but plans may still be altered or dropped entirely.

A spokesperson for Barclays said: “We don’t comment on speculation. Our businesses continue to perform well and growing our global payments business is a priority for us.”

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