US payment processing giant Vantiv has agreed to merge with its British rival Worldpay in a preliminary 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Rival suitor JP Morgan Chase has withdrawn.
The tie-up will create a trans-Atlantic payments processing giant with a combined market value of more than £15.5bn.
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.
Worldpay shareholders would own about 41% of the combined group under the deal with Vantiv.
The firms said the proposed deal “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.