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Burroughs reborn through acquisition of Unisys cheque business

04 February 2010  |  5463 views  |  0 cheque

Nearly a quarter of a century after the name disappeared, Burroughs has been resurrected by a private equity firm that has acquired Unisys' cheque and cash automation equipment business.

Founded in 1886 as the American Arithmometer Company, and changing its name to Burroughs in 1904, the firm was a major US business equipment manufacturer, initially building mechanical adding machines before moving into programmable ledgers and then computers.

The cheque processing business dates back to Burroughs' pioneering use of magnetic ink character recognition in 1959.

However, in 1986, after acquiring rival firm Sperry in a $4.8 billion deal, the company changed its name to Unisys.

Now, California-based Marlin Equity Partners has acquired the cheque business - including the manufacturing and office facility in Plymouth, Michigan - for an undisclosed fee, and established a new company, Burroughs Payment Systems.

The firm currently employs around 500 people and, according to local press reports, has more than 2000 customers in North America.

Separately, Unisys has won extensions to long-term contracts with Australia's Suncorp. Under the extensions, Unisys will continue to provide Suncorp's banking and insurance operations with cheque processing services for a further two years and direct entry electronic payments for another three years.

Terry Wasmund, GM, Suncorp Bank, says: "Having Unisys provide these services allows us to focus on other core areas of our business, knowing that back-end payments are being processed in an efficient and cost-effective manner."

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