RPT-UPDATE 1-Payments processor WEX to acquire eNett and Optal for about $1.7 bln

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Jan 24 (Reuters) - Fintech company WEX Inc said on Friday it would buy payments services providers eNett and Optal for about $1.7 billion to strengthen its presence in the online travel bookings market, which is expected to grow at about 9% through 2023.

The deal comprises $1.28 billion in cash and about 2 million common shares of WEX.

WEX will acquire business-to-business payments processor for travel booking platforms eNett from Travelport Worldwide Ltd, which was taken private in December 2018.

The acquisitions mark the latest consolidation in the financial technology industry, following Visa Inc’s buyout of software startup Plaid Inc in a $5.3 billion deal, earlier in January. The cash portion of the deal, which is expected to be completed in mid-2020, will be funded through WEX’s cash and debt.

BofA Securities and Grant Samuel are acting as financial advisers to WEX, Credit Suisse Securities and LionTree Advisors are financial advisers to eNett and Financial Technology Partners are advising Optal. (Reporting by Bharath Manjesh and Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Vinay Dwivedi)