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Argentina's competition body extends deadline for Prisma sale

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Argentina's competition body extends deadline for Prisma sale

Argentina's commission for the protection of competition, the CNDC, has given the owners of Prisma Medios de Pago SA another 10 to 12 weeks to sell the credit card and payment processing company after its initial deadline for the sale expired last month, El Cronista reported.

The extension granted by the CNDC was less than the up-to 17 weeks delay that Prisma had asked for after finding no "open markets" in Argentina to sell amid the country's currency crisis.

The CNDC originally gave the owners of Prisma until September to sell 51% of the company and until 2021 to sell the remaining 49%.

Potential buyers for Prisma could include U.S. private equity firm Advent International Corp., which could pursue the sale alone or in partnership with Bain Capital LP, a source told El Cronista. Prisma's owners previously rejected a joint offer from Advent and Bain to acquire the company for $1.20 billion.

The offer made by the U.S. private equity firms was less than the expected valuation by the owners, which was about $2.00 billion, or at least $1.00 billion for the 51% stake, the publication said.

If the transaction does not materialize, Prisma could seek capital in the local stock exchange and go public in the New York Stock Exchange next year, according to the newspaper. The company is also not ruling out an IPO in Brazil.

In 2017, the government ordered Prisma's owners, which include Visa International and 14 Argentine banks, to sell the company in order to spur competition in the local financial sector.