10:17 AM

Fiserv Acquires CheckFree For $4.4 Billion

CheckFree's electronic commerce business processes more than 1 billion transactions annually for 21 of the top 25 financial institutions.

In a merger of financial giants, Fiserv said Thursday that it will acquire CheckFree in an all-cash transaction for $4.4 billion.

Both companies have been on acquisition binges in recent months, and the new combined company is expected to broaden Fiserv's existing strong presence in information management systems and services for the financial and insurance industries to now include CheckFree's strengths in worldwide financial electronic commerce services and products.

CheckFree's "payment and Internet banking capabilities will significantly accelerate our strategic transformation, extending our service platform to the largest financial institutions," Jeffrey Yabuki, Fiserv's president and CEO, said in a statement. "An important objective of the transaction is to tightly integrate electronic bill payment and settlement capabilities with our core account-processing and risk-management solutions." The two companies have a long history of partnering in the broad financial commerce area.

Fiserv already supplies services to all of the top 100 U.S. banks, including nearly 6,000 core processing clients. CheckFree's electronic commerce business processes more than 1 billion transactions annually for 21 of the top 25 financial institutions, the companies noted.

Pete Kight, CheckFree's chairman and CEO, said CheckFree's offerings will help Fiserv round out its effort in the evolving field of U.S. payments and will also help the new combined company grow in the managed financial accounts area.

Kight will continue as an executive in the merged company and will be appointed to its board of directors.

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