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Three Bidders Shortlisted For RBS' Merchant Services Unit-Sources

By Patricia Kowsmann and Marietta Cauchi Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) has shortlisted three private-equity firms for the acquisition of its Global Merchant Services payments-processing unit, valued at up to GBP2.5 billion, people familiar with the situation said Tuesday. The bidders are Advent International, which is bidding jointly with Bain Capital; TPG Inc.; and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. The last two could join forces for a final bid, the people added. Global Merchant Services' biggest asset is RBS Worldpay, which processes credit card payments in 40 different countries. The auction, which is being run by UBS, initially attracted numerous offers from private equity firms. Not making the cut were London-based private equity firm Permira, which bid alongside American Express Co. (AXP); CVC Capital Partners, which made an offer with French firm Atos Origin (ATO.FR); and buyout firm Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe. Canadian payment processing firm Moneris Solutions also bid. The RBS unit is being sold by the 83%-government owned bank as part of a disposal program forced on it after being bailed out by the state. -By Patricia Kowsmann and Marietta Cauchi, Dow Jones Newswires. Tel +44(0)207-842-9295, patricia.kowsmann@dowjones.com

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