Davidson Kempner spearheads £300m swoop on Worldpay shares

·2-min read

The chief executive of BT Group is in line for a multimillion pound windfall from a deal involving shares in the payments company he helped to turn from a £2bn orphan into a £31bn international giant.

Sky News has learnt that Philip Jansen will be among the beneficiaries of a transaction that will see hedge funds led by Davidson Kempner Capital Management acquiring a tranche of stock in Worldpay known as contingent value rights (CVRs).

The deal, which is understood to have been agreed in recent days, will see Davidson Kempner and co-investors acquiring the CVRs from Advent International and Bain Capital - Worldpay's former owners - for between $400m (£291m) and $500m (£364m).

City sources said that Mr Jansen was in line to receive a seven-figure sum from the sale.

Ron Kalifa, the author of a recent government-commissioned fintech review and former Worldpay deputy chairman, is also said to be among the recipients of a payout.

The unusual windfall has arisen because of a structure that Worldpay created when it floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2015 to manage its interest in Visa Europe, the payments giant.

The CVRs were conceived amid the threat of ongoing litigation against Visa from the retail industry over interchange fees.

Advent and Bain retained 10% of the proceeds from the sale of the Visa Europe stake in the form of the CVRs, which are now being paid out in several tranches.

For Mr Jansen, who joined Worldpay in 2013, the latest payout will supplement the substantial rewards he earned when he took the company public five years after it was bought from the bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland for £2bn.

He received another windfall when Worldpay was taken over in 2019 by FIS of the US in a $43bn deal, which led to his departure from the group.

Mr Jansen joined BT as chief executive later that year.

In the last fortnight he has been bolstered by regulatory rulings from Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, and the outcome of a 5G spectrum auction, both of which have brought welcome relief.

Sky News revealed earlier this month that Mr Jansen had given boardroom colleagues an ultimatum over his future, warning that he was prepared to quit unless BT replaced its chairman, Jan du Plessis.

This week, BT offered tens of thousands of frontline staff a £1500 bonus in recognition of their work during the pandemic.

"Our frontline colleagues and key workers have been true heroes, keeping everyone connected in this most difficult time," Mr Jansen said.

Trade unions responded by accusing BT of attempting to bribe them not go on strike.

PJT Partners, the investment bank, is understood to have advised Advent and Bain on the sale of the Worldpay CVRs.

Advent, Bain and Davidson Kempner all declined to comment.