SIA is finalizing an accord to keep Italian lender UniCredit SpA as one of its main clients, which has been a key sticking point in determining its valuation, according to the people. Extending the contract could pave the way for Nexi and SIA to reach a preliminary pact on a combination as soon as the next few weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
Shares of Nexi have risen more than 20% in Milan trading this year, giving the company a market value of about 9.6 billion euros ($11.4 billion). Nexi and SIA are moving closer to an agreement on the pricing of a potential deal, though other terms of a transaction are still being discussed, the people said.
The companies have been weighing a combination on and off for more than a year, part of a trend of European payments providers seeking to bulk up. Combining the two Italian firms would create a stronger competitor to France’s Worldline SA, which agreed in February to acquire Ingenico Group SA in a 7.8 billion-euro deal.
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