Trio of firms primed to push bids on potential £3bn RBS division sell-off

CLIFFORD Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Weil Gotshal & Manges have lined up to represent competing bidders on
the auction of RBS’s ­payment processing arm, with Linklaters winning the mandate on the sale side.

Linklaters corporate partner Matthew Middleditch is understood to be leading for RBS on the auction as the bank readies itself to sell
off its Global Merchant Services (GMS) division for an estimated £2.5bn.

Private equity houses have begun teaming up with ­existing service providers ­following the end of the first round of the bidding process.

Clifford Chance is understood to be acting for a ­consortium that includes American Express and ­Permira, with the private ­equity firm’s longstandingadviser Jonny Myers thought to be leading.

Weil Gotshal corporate partner Marco Compagnoni is advising a consortium that includes Advent International and Bain Capital.

Freshfields corporate partner David Sonter is thought to be acting for Warburg Pincus, which has not yet sought a tie-up with a commercial partner.

The sale of the division, which includes RBS’s World-Pay payment business and its Streamline cards operation, has been driven by the state aid requirements for the bank to dispose of its non-essential operations.

The next deadline for bids is 31 May, with one source familiar with the deal saying the ultimate sale price could reach £3bn.

The source added: “It’s one of those truly ­international businesses, so it’s going to be pretty huge and pretty messy.”

Other bidders include a consortium featuring ­private equity players CVC Capital Partners and Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe, alongside French IT group Atos Origin.

Private equity house TPG and Canadian card payments company Moneris are also said to be in the running.