(Bloomberg) -- Evertec Inc., a Puerto Rico-based payments processor, is exploring strategic options including a potential sale, according to people familiar with the matter. Its shares rose as much as 17% on the news.

The company is working with a financial adviser to field interest from potential buyers, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. It could appeal to larger payments companies such as Global Payments Inc. and Fiserv Inc., the people added.

No final decision has been made and Evertec could opt to remain independent, the people said.

Representatives for Evertec, Global Payments and Fiserv declined to comment.

Evertec rose 10.4% to $34.40 at 12:44 p.m. in New York Tuesday, giving the San Juan-based company a market value of $2.5 billion.

Evertec’s exploration of options follows heavy consolidation in the payments sector, as companies pair up to add scale and diversify. The trend comes as businesses and consumers are increasingly ditching cash to pay for goods and services online.

Last year, Global Payments acquired Total System Services Inc. while Fiserv acquired First Data Corp.

Evertec offers payment processing, merchant acquiring and other services in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Latin America, according to its website.

(Updates with Global Payments and Evertec declining to comment in fourth paragraph; updates share price in fifth paragraph.)

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