Talks may prompt Travelex sale

Foreign exchange giant Travelex could be put up for sale after talks over a potential £1 billion takeover of the business, according to a report.

An unnamed Asian buyer is understood to have approached Travelex's private equity parent Apax in what is set to kick off an auction of the world's largest non-bank foreign exchange business, according to The Sunday Telegraph.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
Travelex, bought by Apax in 2005, trades in more than 80 currencies and operates in around 50 countries. Founded in 1976, it has 30 million retail customers each year and owns a network of 1,300 stores and 1,100 ATMs.

The group has been looking to refocus on its core business in recent years, selling its card programme management business to MasterCard for £290 million in 2011 and offloading Travelex Global Business Payments to Western Union for £606 million in the same year.

But Travelex has been keen to expand into so-called emerging markets in South America, the Middle East and Africa.

Chief executive Peter Jackson, who joined the group in 2010, has also been leading a push online.

While the bid is thought to have been unsolicited, Apax may capitalise on the interest as it is believed to be struggling to meet its nine billion euro (£7.8 billion) fundraising target.

Apax was not immediately available for comment.

Travelex was launched by chairman Lloyd Dorfman who opened the group's first bureau de change in Southampton Row, London. It has since grown organically and by acquisition, snapping up Barclay's foreign exchange arm in the UK in 1999 and then Thomas Cook Financial Services for £440 million in 2001.

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