Global payments processor Worldpay saw its value surge by almost £2bn as it confirmed it had received competing takeover approaches from Wall Street giant JP Morgan and U.S. rival Vantiv.
Worldpay's shares had started rising before the announcement, with traders citing rumours the company may be a bid target.
They now have until August 1 to firm up their approach, according to takeover rules. A spokesperson for Vantiv wasn't immediately available for comment.
Vantiv has made numerous acquisitions in the area of payments. No comment was released by JPMorgan, while Vantiv failed to respond to a request for a comment.
Analysts said that other companies might now be interested in making a bid. Banks and payment companies are racing to retool their offerings as customers increasingly turn to card and mobile devices to pay for goods.
Some consolidation is underway in the world of payment processing: Worldpay - the giant company that says it processes 31 million mobile, online and in-store transactions daily and competes against the likes of PayPal, Stripe, Square and more in payment processing - is on the block.
The global payments processor has received a preliminary approach from the two firms, but said it did not mean a formal offer would be made. While the bank has made a series of smaller financial technology acquisitions in recent years, it has so far held off from big-ticket deals.
Worldpay was spun out of British lender Royal Bank of Scotland to private equity firms Bain Capital LP and Advent International in 2010.
While combining Worldpay with either JPMorgan or Vantiv would bring efficiency from sharing operations, it could also help the companies to "mount a more robust defence to new kids on the block", Mr O'Sullivan added.
The FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) fell this morning despite a surge in Worldpay (LON:WPG) shares and gains for the supermarkets.
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