SIX Group, which operates the infrastructure for the Swiss financial centre, has offloaded a 6% interest in payment services firm Worldline in a deal valued at €675m ($731m).

The Swiss group sold nearly 10 million Worldline shares through an accelerated bookbuilding.

Concurrently, SIX also closed an equity collar transaction on Worldline shares entered in October last year that contributed an additional one million shares for sale.

The Swiss stock exchange operator said that it will use the proceeds from the stake sale to fund its acquisition of Spanish rival Bolsas y Mercados Españoles (BME).

SIX CFO Daniel Schmucki commented: “The placement has been driven by an important extraordinary strategic step for SIX: the intended acquisition of BME. At the same time, Worldline continues to be a highly strategic investment for SIX.

“SIX intends to remain a medium to long-term shareholder in Worldline, fully committed to its continued role on Worldline’s board of directors.”

Recently, Worldline signed a deal to acquire Ingenico. The $8.6bn deal will create the fourth-biggest payments company in the world.

SIX reiterated its previous stand that it will fully support Worldline’s complete takeover of all Ingenico, and will vote in favour of all necessary resolutions at the Extraordinary Shareholder Meeting to be held in June 2020.

Last week, Worldline acquired a majority stake in payments company GoPay to strengthen its position in the Central and Eastern European market.