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FleetCor, buyout firms eye $3 billion-plus deal for Comdata: sources

By Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis

NEW YORK (Reuters) - FleetCor Technologies Inc and buyout firms including Carlyle Group LP and Silver Lake Partners LP are vying to acquire payments processing company Comdata Inc for more than $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Discussions about a potential sale come after Comdata, owned by Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Fidelity National Financial Inc, said in April it had confidentially filed for an initial public offering.

The sources asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Thomas H. Lee, FleetCor, Silver Lake and Carlyle declined to comment, while Fidelity National Financial and Comdata did not respond to requests for comment.

FleetCor, which has a market capitalization of $11 billion, has grown rapidly through acquisitions since its founding in 2000. It provides fuel cards and workforce payment products and services for businesses, oil companies and governments.

A potential takeover of Comdata would mark one of FleetCor's largest deals and expand its capabilities in electronic payment processing.

Brentwood, Tennessee-based Comdata is a business-to-business provider of electronic payment solutions for industries including vehicle fleets, healthcare and retail. It processes more than 1 billion transactions from over 45 countries and in 26 currencies, according to its website.

Thomas H. Lee and Fidelity National took over Comdata in 2007 as part of their $5.3 billion acquisition of payroll and employee benefits processing company Ceridian Inc. Ceridian was separated from Comdata last year.

A deal for Comdata would follow several transactions involving payment processing companies in the past year, including a $3.5 billion private placement last month at KKR & Co LP's First Data Corp.

Silver Lake, one of the suitors for Comdata, is a seasoned investor in the payment processing space and sold Mercury Payment Systems LLC to Vantiv Inc for $1.65 billion in May.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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