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UPDATE 1-Payments firm Ingenico to buy rival Bambora for 1.5 bln euros

* Wave of M&A going through payments sector

* Ingenico buying Bambora from Nordic Capital

* Ingenico expects Bambora deal to lift earnings (Adds further detail, background)

PARIS, July 20 (Reuters) - French payments specialist Ingenico is to buy rival Bambora from Nordic Capital for 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion), the latest in a series of deals in the sector.

The acquisition of Stockholm-based Bambora, which had gross revenues of 202 million euros in 2016, would lift Ingenico's earnings and lead to synergies, Ingenico said in a statement on Thursday.

"Coupled with the investments made in our platforms and the development of new technological features, Bambora will enhance our customer-centric approach and will reinforce our online and in-store positioning through a perfect complementarity," said Ingenico Chairman and Chief Executive Philippe Lazare.

Payments firms have become targets for credit card companies and banks seeking to capitalize on a switch from cash transactions to paying by smartphone or other mobile devices.

Ingenico's takeover of Bambora follows a similar move this month by credit card processor Vantiv to buy Worldpay for 7.7 billion pounds ($10 billion).

Earlier this month French payments company Worldline said it had agreed to buy Swedish peer Digital River World Payments.

Ingenico, which also reported higher first-half profits and sales on Thursday, expected the Bambora takeover to boost its earnings per share by around 5 percent by 2018 and said it hoped to close the deal by the end of 2017. ($1 = 0.8688 euros) ($1 = 0.7679 pounds) (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier, Greg Mahlich)