By Ben Dummett and Max Colchester
Vantiv Inc., a major U.S. credit-card processor, is close to a deal to merge with the U.K.'s Worldpay Group Inc., according to a person familiar with the transaction -- potentially beating out rival bidder J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
The deal, which could be announced as soon as Wednesday, would create a trans-Atlantic payments processing giant with a combined market value of more than $20 billion. Worldpay previously disclosed it had received preliminary approaches from Vantiv and J.P. Morgan.
Worldpay is particularly strong in the U.K. and the U.S., processing millions of payments daily in stores, online and on cellphones. Ohio-based Vantiv helps merchants, banks and credit unions accept credit- and debit-card payments, as well as gift cards and online payments mainly in the U.S.
Payments businesses are under pressure to consolidate as regulators and rising competition from technology startups, squeeze the fees of incumbents. Worldpay rival Nets AS said last week that it had been approached by suitors. In April, Mastercard Inc. received regulatory approval to acquire payment-technology firm VocaLink Holdings Ltd. for about $920 million.
Write to Ben Dummett at [email protected] and Max Colchester at [email protected]