The Abraaj Group has exited its 49% stake in Network International, the Middle East and Africa payments processing firm in which it first invested in March 2011, in a sale to Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic. Existing investor Emirates NBD will retain its 51% stake. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
Network International was founded in 1994 and now provides its customers with services across the entire payments eco-system with a focus on Merchant Acquiring services and Issue Processing services. According to the firm’s website, the Dubai-headquartered company has a presence in a number of African countries, including Egypt, Botswana, Congo, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, as well as number of countries in the Middle East.
“The Abraaj Group understood the growth opportunity that Network International represented for the payments sector in the region in 2011,” said Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, a Partner at Abraaj. “We are delighted to have worked with Network International and Emirates NBD in validating that thesis to create value and to have contributed to the development of a regional champion in the financial services and payments sectors over the last five years.”
During its holding period, Emirates NBD and Abraaj have supported the company’s growth by augmenting its senior management team, by helping product and geographic diversification and by facilitating greater market access to the sub-Saharan region.
Commenting on the transaction, Joseph Schull, Managing Director and Head of EMEA from Warburg Pincus said, “Network International benefits from a leading market position in an exciting market and region, an excellent management team, and best-in-class products and services. As the payments sector continues to benefit from long-term structural growth, we are delighted to partner with CEO Bhairav Trivedi, his talented management team and Emirates NBD to help Network International extend its leadership position across the Middle East and Africa.”
Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic were advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Perella Weinberg Partners, Morgan Stanley, and Citi. Emirates NBD was advised by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.