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Report: Advent International strikes deal to acquire 51% stake in Prisma

U.S.-based Advent International Corp. has reached an agreement to acquire a 51% stake in Argentine payment processing firm Prisma Medios de Pago SA for about $725 million, Clarín reported, citing sources familiar with the deal negotiations.

The deal is expected to be formally announced in the coming days, according to the report.

Prisma, which manages the Visa card brand in Argentina, is owned by 14 of the country's largest banks and Visa International. It reportedly manages about 70% of all electronic payment transactions in Argentina.

The Argentine government ordered Prisma's owners to sell the company in 2017 in order to spur competition in the local financial sector, but initial offers for the company were reportedly much lower than what the owners were seeking.

The country's competition authority, the CNDC, extended the deadline for the sale earlier this year as the owners sought more time to finalize the deal amid high currency volatility. However, a source affiliated with the CNDC recently threatened a state-led divestment process for Prisma if its owners were unable to sell by the Jan. 23, 2019, deadline.

According to Clarín, Prisma's three largest current shareholders include Banco Santander Río SA with a 17.5% stake, and Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires SAU and BBVA Banco Francés SA with 15.9% and 10.5%, respectively.

The divestment of the 51% stake will reportedly be executed in proportion to the owners' current holdings in Prisma. The current owners will have three years to sell the remaining 49% of Prisma, the publication noted. They reportedly expect a higher valuation for the remaining stake a few years down the line.