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Travelport deal adds to rising private equity buyout momentum in fintech space

The financial technology and payments space has seen a steady uptick in large private equity buyout activity since 2012 and is on track in 2018 to record the greatest number of deals valued at $1 billion or more over that time frame.

Year-to-date through Dec. 10, there have been six announced private equity buyouts worth at least $1 billion in the fintech space, with a total transaction value of approximately $40.62 billion, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, compared with four deals in 2017 and three in 2016. Non-private equity firms have announced 10 deals with a transaction value of at least $1 billion so far this year, but the aggregate transaction value of those deals is lower at about $27.35 billion.

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The latest deal in the sector is the planned acquisition of U.K.-based travel commerce technology company Travelport Worldwide Ltd. by affiliates of U.S.-based private equity firms Siris Capital Group LLC and Evergreen Coast Capital Corp. in a $4.14 billion transaction scheduled to close in the second quarter of 2019. Evergreen Coast is the private equity affiliate of hedge fund manager Elliott Management Corp.

The recently completed $17.30 billion sale of Thomson Reuters Corp.'s financial and risk business to an investor group comprising New York-based Blackstone Group LP, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Singapore-based GIC Pte. Ltd. is the largest fintech deal in 2018 by private equity buyers.

Also contributing to the 2018 record deal value are the approximately $3.39 billion sale of Verifone Systems Inc. to an investor group led by Francisco Partners Management LP and the buyout of Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc. by P2 Capital Partners LLC and Silver Lake Partners in a $2.49 billion go-private transaction.

Two additional private equity deals signed in 2018 involving fintech companies have yet to close, including the pending $6.7 billion acquisition of a majority stake in Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. by affiliates of funds managed by Carlyle Group LP from KKR & Co., and the planned sale of Dun & Bradstreet Corp. to an investor group including CC Capital Partners, Cannae Holdings Inc., Black Knight Inc. and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP for $6.60 billion.

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