Bill Foley’s investment vehicle will raise close to $2bn in additional funds from institutional investors, making Paysafe’s return to public markets one of the largest blank-cheque deals of the year © USA Today Sports

Blackstone and CVC have agreed to list Paysafe at a $9bn valuation via a merger with a blank-cheque company launched by billionaire Bill Foley.

The deal triples the private equity firms’ investment three years after buying out the UK fintech group, said people briefed on the deal.

Foley Trasimene Acquisition II, the special purpose acquisition company that listed in August on the New York Stock Exchange raising $1.47bn, will merge with Paysafe in one of the largest Spac deals to date.

Mr Foley’s investment vehicle will also raise close to $2bn in additional funds from institutional investors, including hedge fund Third Point and Hedosophia, the company set up by British investor Ian Osborne who has launched multiple Spacs with Chamath Palihapitiya.

The latest deal involving Spacs, which raise cash on the stock market and seek to buy a private company to take public, highlights how Wall Street’s hottest financial structure is being used for ever-larger transactions.

At a $9bn valuation including debt and additional investments, Paysafe’s deal will be just behind Churchill Capital III’s merger with MultiPlan for $11bn. Last week, Dyal Capital said it was in talks to merge with Owl Rock Capital and go public via a blank-cheque vehicle in a deal that would value the two asset managers at a combined $13bn. 

The acquisition of the Isle of Man-based digital payments specialist is the latest in a wave of deals in the sector that has seen several private equity players profit handsomely from their bet on online transactions growing exponentially.

Milan-listed payments group Nexi recently acquired for €7.8bn Danish rival Nets, a group controlled by buyout groups Advent, Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman. The Italian company also recently finalised a €15bn merger with domestic rival Sia. Earlier in the year, French payment services group Worldline snapped up local rival Ingenico for €7.8bn. 

Paysafe, which has been dominant in handling online gambling transactions as well as helping retailers process customers’ online payments, was acquired by Blackstone and CVC for £3bn in 2017. As part of the deal with Mr Foley’s Spac the private equity duo will retain a stake in Paysafe.

Mr Foley’s move comes as private and public online payments companies have experienced a boom over the past year as coronavirus-forced lockdowns prompted millions of people globally to buy more goods and services over the internet. 

For the billionaire investor, this is the latest in a series of Spac deals in the financial services sector. In 2018, he set up a blank-cheque company with former Blackstone dealmaker Chinh Chu to acquire life insurer Fidelity & Guaranty Life for $1.8bn.


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