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Nexi strikes $412 million buy of BPER's retailer payment business

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Italian payments group Nexi is pictured inside their headquarters in Milan
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MILAN (Reuters) - Italian payments group Nexi has agreed to buy the shop payments business of BPER Banca and Banco Di Sardegna in a deal worth up to 384 million euro ($412 million) that brings in a network of more than 110,000 retailers.

Nexi, one of Europe's leading payments company, has been steadily expanding its operations serving merchants through similar acquisitions, including a landmark 1 billion euro deal with Italy's top bank Intesa Sanpaolo in 2019.

Under the latest accord, Nexi will buy the merchant payment and Point of Sales (POS) operations of both BPER and its Banco di Sardegna subsidiary.

The deal values the businesses at up to 384 million euros, including a 66 million euro delayed component to be paid when set targets are met.

Tied by a commercial partnership, Nexi and BPER entered exclusive negotiations on the sale in February, twice pushing back a deadline to wrap talks up.

"Following several delays, the deal goes through and it is good news," Banca Akros analyst Luigi Tramontana said, reiterating a "buy" rating on Nexi.

BPER said in a statement the business being transferred handled 13 billion euros worth of transactions last year through a network of around 150,000 card machines.

Italy's fifth-largest bank said the long-term strategic partnership it had struck with Nexi as part of the sale would allow to keep "significant exposure" to the business for the duration of the accord.

The closing of the deal is expected in the second half of the year.

By 0917 GMT shares in Nexi rose 1.3% and BPER gained 2%, both outperforming a 0.2% rise in Italy's blue-chip index.

Milan-based broker Equita SIM estimated the business sold could have been valued at around 10 times its expected 2022 core profit in terms of enterprise value, meaning it would boost Nexi's earnings per share by around 2% without any significant impact on the debt leverage ratio.

Rothschild advised Nexi. Deutsche Bank was BPER's sole financial adviser on the deal, with Gianni & Origoni acting as legal adviser and Deloitte supporting the financial due diligence activity. ($1 = 0.9325 euros)

(Reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by Keith Weir)

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