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Hellman & Friedman leads race for $5 bln Nets deal- FT

Aug 31 (Reuters) - U.S. private equity firm Hellman & Friedman is the frontrunner in the race to acquire Nets , Scandinavia's largest payments processor, the Financial Times reported, citing people close to the discussions.

The deal is expected to value Nets at more than 31.3 billion Danish crowns ($5.01 billion), the newspaper also reported. http://on.ft.com/2vNvIVi

Nets is seeing "considerable interest" from potential buyers, Chief Executive Bo Nilsson had said earlier this month.

Nets could be the next big deal in the sector following a flurry of acquisitions, including U.S. credit card payments processor Vantiv finalizing a deal to buy Britain's biggest payments processor Worldpay for 8 billion pounds ($10.35 billion) earlier this month.

U.S. payment giants and Mastercard are both seen as suitors for Nets, which has a current market capitalization of 29.16 billion Danish crowns according to Thomson Reuters data.

Hellman & Friedman could not be immediately reached for comment while Nets did not immediately comment on the report. ($1 = 6.2424 Danish crowns) ($1 = 0.7729 pounds) (Reporting by Parikshit Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)