UAE Exchange head in £1bn talks on Travelex acquisition

Bavaguthu Shetty, better known as BR Shetty, is in discussions to buy UK-based Travelex, a company in which the UK private equity firm Apax Partners has a majority stake.
Travelex said in March it was considering an initial public offering. Ted Warren / AP Photo
Travelex said in March it was considering an initial public offering. Ted Warren / AP Photo

The billionaire head of UAE Exchange is in talks to buy Travelex, the global currency exchange house in a deal that could be valued at £1 billion (Dh6.19bn), a person familiar with the negotiations said.

Bavaguthu Shetty, better known as BR Shetty, is in discussions to buy UK-based Travelex, a company in which the UK private equity firm Apax Partners has a majority stake.

Travelex was expected to be sold in an initial public offering in London aimed to raise a similar sum.

But that has been put on hold for the time being, the source said., Mr Shetty would be acting independently of UAE Exchange, the person said.

Abu Dhabi-based UAE Exchange has more than 700 offices across 31 countries, with almost half of these bureaux in India alone via its unit in the Asian country UAE Exchange and Financial Services. The company employs more than 9,000 people and is one of the biggest remittance companies in the world.

A spokesman for Mr Shetty declined to comment. Apex spokespeople were not immediately available to comment.

Apax bought a majority stake in Travelex in 2005 in a deal that valued the company at about £1.1bn. Travelex said in March it was considering an initial public offering.

The Travelex chief executive Peter Jackson has sold assets including a card programme management unit to MasterCard in 2011 and a business-payments unit to Western Union to focus on the company’s consumer division, according to Bloomberg News.

mkassem@thenational.ae

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Published: May 22, 2014 04:00 AM

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