Spokeswoman says acquisition positive for firm

April 02, 1999|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

It's too early to tell if Atlanta-based First Data Corp.'s $408-million acquisition of competitor Paymentech Inc.'s stock will affect operations at First Data Merchant Services in Hagerstown, First Data spokeswoman Colleen Emigh said Wednesday.

But it's definitely a positive for the company and will strengthen an alliance between First Data Corp. and Bank One Corp., called Banc One Payment Services, said Emigh, in a telephone interview from Atlanta.

Most of the processing for that joint venture is done in Hagerstown by First Data Corp.'s merchant processing division, First Data Merchant Services, she said.

The stock acquisition, part of a three-party agreement with Paymentech Inc. and Bank One Corp., requires regulatory and shareholder approval and isn't expected to be completed until the third quarter, Emigh said.


First Data Corp. will acquire roughly about 16 million shares of Paymentech Inc. - about 45 percent of the outstanding shares - at $25.50 per share, according to Emigh.

The other 55 percent of the shares are owned by Bank One Corp., she said.

Under the agreement, Paymentech's merchant processing operations will be combined with Banc One Payment Services's operations, Emigh said.

Among the many positives, the deal will strengthen First Data's relationship with Bank One, she said.

First Data Merchant Services is the world's largest provider of merchant processing for VISA, MasterCard and other major credit cards, with $5 billion in transactions in 1998, Emigh said.

Paymentech was started in 1985 as the merchant processing division of First USA, which was acquired by Bank One in 1997, according to their corporate Web sites.

Paymentech is the third-largest merchant processor in the United States, with 1.9 billion transactions and a $49.3 billion sales volume in fiscal year 1998, according to its Web site.

The Herald-Mail Articles