Travelex Courts Buyers As It Pursues Listing
Travelex, the foreign exchange provider, is reaching out to potential buyers even as it pursues a stock market listing likely to value it at more than £1bn.
Sky News has learnt that Goldman Sachs has in recent weeks approached companies including American Express and a number of Asian banks to gauge their interest in a potential takeover of Travelex.
The process remains at an early stage and it is unclear whether any of those being sounded out have expressed a serious interest in further discussions.
Among the other parties understood to have been sounded out is Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the state-owned Chinese lender.
Travelex and its shareholders are pursuing an initial public offering (IPO) as their preferred option, and have engaged headhunters to recruit additional board members as the company prepares to go public.
Insiders said on Tuesday that Ridgeway Partners, a leading search firm, had been hired to identify a deputy chairman who would act as the voice of independent investors in the event of a stock market flotation.
Travelex was set up in 1976 by Lloyd Dorfman, who remains its chairman and second-largest shareholder.
Mr Dorfman, one of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs, would remain as chairman if Travelex opts for a listing, probably in the third quarter of this year.
Apax Partners, the private equity group, has owned a controlling stake in Travelex since 2005 and is keen to offload its stake, on which it will reap an already handsome profit.
City sources told Sky News last month said that JP Morgan was focusing on an IPO, while Goldman had been asked to field approaches from potential buyers of the company.
Rothschild was brought in last autumn to help evaluate options for the business.
A stock market listing would probably see Travelex join the FTSE-250 index of the public companies ranked between 101 and 350 by size on the London markets.
Travelex has been reshaped since Peter Jackson, its chief executive, was recruited from Lloyds Banking Group in 2010, with the sale of its card management and global payments operations for an aggregate total of nearly £1bn.
Mr Jackson said last year that trading during the crucial summer period had been strong, and the business is understood to have continued to perform well since then.
A Travelex spokesman declined to comment.
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