The head of Canada’s Lightspeed Commerce Inc. said recent talks about a potential private equity buyout of payments firm Nuvei Corp. have him thinking about whether his company should do the same.

“Nuvei is weighing whether it can do more as a private company,” Lightspeed Interim Chief Executive Officer and founder Dax Dasilva said in an interview with La Presse, a Montreal-based news site. “People have made the same comment to me about Lightspeed.”

“I still believe that the stock market is a good place for Lightspeed, but when you look at what’s happening, you wonder if going private would be a better option,” Dasilva said. “We are always open to these discussions.”

Lightspeed shares jumped 5 per cent to $19.01 as of 9:45 a.m. in Toronto, giving the company a market capitalization of $2.9 billion. 

Montreal-based Lightspeed, which makes point-of-sale software used by restaurants and other businesses, went public five years ago at $16 a share and eventually soared to more than $155 during the 2021 frenzy for speculative tech stocks.

But in September of that year, short seller Spruce Point Capital Management released a negative report on Lightspeed, causing a slide in the shares from which it has never recovered. Lightspeed closed last week at $18.11 in Toronto.

Nuvei, which is also based in Montreal, announced on March 17 that it’s reviewing expressions of interest in a potential transaction, responding to a Wall Street Journal report that private equity firm Advent International is in talks to take over the company.

In early February, Lightspeed’s then-CEO, JP Chauvet, hinted about potential acquisitions in a conference call with analysts and said the company had a “tip” toward growth over profitability. Those comments helped send the shares down 24 per cent in one day.

A week later, Chauvet left the post and Dasilva returned as interim CEO.