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Italy's Intesa to sell 654 million euro stake in payments group Nexi

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows Intesa Sanpaolo bank logo

By Valentina Za

MILAN (Reuters) -Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo said on Monday it was selling its entire 5.1% stake in Nexi, in an effort to cash in on a recent rally in shares of the payments group.

Intesa agreed to a 25-year partnership as part of the Italian bank's 2020 sale of its retailers' payments business to Nexi.

Intesa said in a statement that the sale of the stake would have no impact on its strategic partnership with Nexi.

Under the 2020 deal, which yielded Italy's biggest bank a capital gain of 1.1 billion euros, Intesa took a 9.9% stake in Nexi.

Intesa's stake got smaller as a proportion of Nexi's capital after merger deals with Nordic rival Nets and domestic peer SIA, which saw Nexi issue new shares to the two companies' existing shareholders.

Intesa's decision follows a rally in Nexi shares last week triggered by stronger-than-expected quarterly results at Europe's biggest payments group by volume of transactions processed.

However, shares in Nexi are still down 30% on a year-to-date basis, according to Refinitiv data, having suffered a sell-off along with other fintechs as economic growth slowed and interest rates rose.

Intesa paid 653 million euros for its Nexi stake, which comprises around 67 million shares.

That is broadly in line with the market value of the holding based on Monday's closing price of 9.76 euros a share, down 1.89% from the previous session.

Intesa said it had hired BofA Securities and JPMorgan as well as its own investment banking arm to sell the stake through an accelerated bookbuilding process, which refers to transactions carried out at a discount to market prices.

It did not disclose any details relating to the use of the proceeds.

(Reporting by Valentina Za; editing by Alexander Smith and Paul Simao)