TSYS buys financial tech firm for $2.35 billion

Columbus-based payments company TSYS said Tuesday it plans to acquire fellow financial technology company TransFirst in a $2.35 billion all-cash deal.

handcreditTransFirst serves the payments needs of more than 235,000 companies. TSYS said the combined firms will create the sixth largest merchant acquirer in the U.S. based on revenue, serving more than 645,000 merchant locations.

“TransFirst significantly increases our scale and opportunity within the highly attractive merchant space, and particularly the profitable and fast-growing small and medium-sized business segment,” TSYS Chairman, President and CEO M. Troy Woods said in a news release.

Georgia is a powerhouse in the financial technology world and TSYS is one of the state’s major ‘FinTech’ companies. According to the American Transaction Processors Coalition, nearly three-fourths of all electronic payments are processed across the networks of companies with operations in Georgia. It’s an industry that helps directly employ more than 40,000 people in the Peach State.

TSYS LogoTSYS issues cards, operates prepaid card networks and processes transactions for merchants.

TransFirst is a Vista Equity Partners company. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

“TransFirst is excited about this transaction and the opportunities it will create,” TransFirst President and CEO John Shlonsky said. “We believe the combination of our two organizations will form an even stronger platform for us to grow new sales, provide more robust solutions for our partners and merchants, and expand an already outstanding service model.”

On Tuesday, TSYS also reported results for the fourth quarter of 2015 and the full year. Total revenue in the fourth quarter grew 12.9 percent to $716.8 million compared to fourth quarter 2014. For the year, 2015 revenue grew 13.6 percent.

Net income attributable to common shareholders in the fourth quarter was $82.8 million, up 3.7 percent from the period in 2014. For the year, net income attributable to common shareholders was $364 million, up 12.8 percent.

The per share profit figure attributable to commons shareholders for 2015 was $1.97, up a third.

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