(Bloomberg) -- Network International Holdings Plc, the Middle Eastern credit card processing firm, is in advanced talks to acquire Mashreqbank PSC’s payments unit, people familiar with the matter said.

London-listed Network International is thrashing out final terms of an agreement with Mashreq after other suitors dropped out of the bidding, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. 

A deal could value the Mashreq unit, called NeoPay, at as much as $700 million, Bloomberg News reported last year. Deliberations are ongoing and there’s no certainty the parties will agree on a transaction, according to the people. Representatives for Network International and Mashreq declined to comment. 

Shares of Network International were up 5.2% at 11:01 a.m. Wednesday in London, giving the company a market capitalization of about £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion). Mashreq shares were up 3%, valuing the company at $5.6 billion, after earlier jumping as much as 15%.

Mashreq last year carved out its payments arm into a new unit and has been working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to gauge interest from potential buyers. Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and buyout firm TPG Inc. were among suitors that studied potential bids, people familiar with the matter said previously. 

First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, Mashreq’s larger rival, carved out its own payments business in 2021 and subsequently sold 60% of the unit to a division of Brookfield.

Network International was founded in 1994 as a subsidiary of Emirates Bank. Private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic bought a stake in the payments firm in 2015, before listing the business in London less than four years later.

--With assistance from Nicolas Parasie.

(Updates with Mashreq comment, share movement from fourth paragraph.)

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