Advent to buy Ryan Reynolds-backed fintech Nuvei in $6.3 billion deal

By Niket Nishant and Manya Saini

(Reuters) -Private equity firm Advent International has agreed to buy Canada's Nuvei in an all-cash deal that values the Ryan Reynolds-backed payments technology firm at $6.3 billion.

The deal, announced on Monday, will take Nuvei private four years after it was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Before reports of a potential deal emerged in mid-March, the stock had lost nearly 15% this year. The company's shares also trade on the Nasdaq.

At $34 per share, Advent will offer Nuvei shareholders a 56% premium to the stock's last close on the Nasdaq before media reports of a possible acquisition.

The buyout of Nuvei would make it one of the more sizable take-private deals at a time when private equity dealmaking has slowed.

Current CEO Philip Fayer will continue to lead Nuvei and it will remain headquartered in Montreal, the company said.

Nuvei provides payments technology to businesses, allowing them to pay and accept transactions regardless of their customers' location or preferred payment method.

Existing shareholders - Fayer, private equity firm Novacap and Canadian pension fund CDPQ - are expected to indirectly own or control about 24%, 18% and 12%, respectively, of the equity in the private company after the deal closes.

Payments processors thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic as customers turned to digital payment methods, but some have since struggled to maintain growth as competition mounted and inflation took off.

"Over the last couple of years, a lot of fintech companies have pulled back dramatically from a public market valuation perspective," said Rob Galtman, senior director at Fitch Ratings.

Such companies may be looking to go private to cut costs and avoid the quarterly reporting requirements that come with being a public company.

"We continue to believe that the combination of large markets with secular tailwinds, coupled with lower valuations, suggests continued consolidation within the payments and fintech space," William Blair analysts wrote in a note.

The deal is expected to close in late 2024 or in the first quarter of 2025.

Advent had $91 billion of assets under management as of Sept. 30. Its high-profile investments in the payments industry include Brazil's Ebanx and UK's Planet.

($1 = 1.3572 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Niket Nishant and Manya Saini in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar, Alan Barona and Maju Samuel)