Worldpay ties up with US rival Vantiv in preliminary deal
US payment processing giant Vantiv has agreed to merge with its British rival Worldpay in a deal valuing the company at about £9.1bn.
Vantiv has offered to pay 385p a share for Worldpay, or £7.7bn, plus £1.4bn to cover debts.
In a joint statement, the two companies said that both boards of directors had reached an "agreement in principle" on the deal.
Rival suitor JP Morgan Chase has withdrawn.
Worldpay shareholders would own about 41% of the combined group under the deal with Vantiv.
The firms said the proposed agreement "creates a scale world-class payments group in a dynamic market".
Worldpay processes millions of payments a day in stores, online and on mobile phones.
It operates worldwide, but with strength in the UK and US markets.
Vantiv is largely focused on the US, helping merchants, banks and credit unions accept card payments, as well as gift cards and online payments.
Under terms of the proposed deal, FTSE 100 firm Worldpay will delist from the London stock market, but will be run by two chief executives.
It will be operated between London and Vantiv's base in Cincinnati.
Vantiv's Charles Drucker will become executive chairman and co-chief executive.
The US company's chief financial officer Stephanie Ferris will hold the role in the enlarged group.
Worldpay's current boss Philip Jansen will become co-chief executive. The British company's chairman Sir Michael Rake and his counterpart at Vantiv, Jeffrey Stiefler, will remain on the board as non-executive directors.
The board will consist of four Worldpay and seven Vantiv directors.
Worldpay's share price has fallen 11.27% to 362p on news of JP Morgan Chase's withdrawal, putting a stop to any bidding war.