EQT to privatize payments firm Billtrust in $1.7 billion deal


Sept 28 (Reuters) – Private equity firm EQT agreed on Wednesday to take the owner of corporate payments firm Billtrust private in a $1.7 billion cash deal.

BTRS Holdings Inc (BTRS.O) shareholders will receive $9.50 for each share, representing a 64% premium to Tuesday’s closing price. Shares of BTRS ended the day at $9.28, having hit that level after the deal was announced.

Reuters was first to report in July that Billtrust was exploring options, including a sell.

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The Sixth Street private lender provided much of a loan that EQT Private Equity is using to back the purchase, a source with knowledge of the matter said, without specifying the amount of the loan.

The funding, which included two other direct lenders, is the latest example of alternative capital providers stepping in to fund leveraged buyouts, as traditional banks have withdrawn from riskier credits in recent months after struggling with losses related to loans offered earlier this year.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year. Billtrust went public almost two years ago, following a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company.

BTRS shares initially rode the wave of interest in payments companies from investors keen to capitalize on the digital commerce boom supercharged by COVID-19 lockdown measures.

As rising interest rates this year have hurt high-growth tech stocks, payment processor valuations have plummeted, prompting some to explore selling and luring private equity firms with a history in the industry. space.

EQT was attracted by Billtrust’s high-quality product and strong growth potential, including through geographic expansion, a second source said.

Billtrust, based in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, provides cloud-based software that helps businesses transition from paper-based invoicing to an integrated digital payment system.

EQT, meanwhile, manages 77 billion euros ($73.91 billion) in assets as of June 30 this year, with portfolio companies in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas.

($1 = 1.0418 euros)

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Reporting by Mehnaz Yasmin in Bengaluru and David French and Shankar Ramakrishnan in New York; Editing by Anirban Sen and Bill Berkrot

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