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First Data completes GZS acquisition

14 June 2006  |  2446 views  |  0 Source: First Data International

First Data International, a leader in electronic commerce and payment services around the world, has completed the acquisition of GZS Gesellschaft fur Zahlungssysteme mbH, Germany's leading processor of cashless, card-based payment transactions.

The shares of GZS that were previously held by the savings banks organization, private banks and the co-operative banking sector have been fully transferred to First Data. Through the acquisition, First Data becomes the market leading processor of card-based payment transactions in Germany.

easycash, the network solutions provider and 100% subsidiary of GZS Group, will be sold by First Data. The Federal Cartel Office approved the GZS acquisition on this condition, as First Data already owns TeleCash, a strong supplier of network solutions in Germany.

The acquisition of GZS adds an important element to First Data's growth strategy in Europe. In 2005, First Data acquired the Vienna-based Austrian Payment Systems Services (APSS) and made other important acquisitions in the fast-growing Eastern European markets. Through these acquisitions, First Data has built a strong European network of processing and competence centres that enables the company to support the card-based businesses of its increasingly international banking and retail clients. The acquisition of GZS enables First Data, as a truly pan-European service provider, to support banks in meeting the preconditions of a Single European Payments Area (SEPA), as stipulated by the European Commission.

GZS provides card processing and settlement services as well as cross-border debit and fraud management solutions to its banking clients. Today, GZS processes nearly one billion transactions per year and provides processing services for more than 8.5 million German and Swiss credit cards that have been outsourced to GZS by the banks. The company brings to First Data substantial experience in sophisticated processing solutions including cross-border debit processing and, following rebranding as part of First Data International, will be expanded as a competence centre for acquiring processing within the European network.

David Yates, president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, First Data International said: "We are very pleased to complete the acquisition of GZS, and to strengthen our position in the important German market. We are convinced that the German cards market offers significant growth potential. Through this acquisition, our German clients gain access to a sophisticated, international product portfolio that will help them to further improve their competitiveness -- and this will become increasingly important as the introduction of SEPA boosts and accelerates structural changes within the electronic payment services industry."

Norbert Pawlowski, managing director of GZS, will retain his position, with responsibility for issuing and acquiring processing and the company's relationships with banks and savings banks. "The acquisition of GZS and integration into the First Data network provides our company with an exciting perspective for growth," said Mr. Pawlowski. "GZS is outstandingly positioned as market leader in Germany. First Data finds a highly motivated and competent staff at GZS that is eager to use its new potential as part of First Data to further accelerate client delivery and client satisfaction."

Bernd M. Fieseler, previous chairman of the GZS supervisory board and executive member of the management board of the Deutschen Sparkassen- und Giroverbandes (DSGV), said: "With the sale to First Data we have created a solid shareholder structure for GZS. The clients of GZS in particular will benefit from the combined know-how of the new company. At the same time, First Data's German operations will play a strong role in international developments."

Commenting on the acquisition, Pam Patsley, president of First Data International, said: "Our global expertise enables us to provide services that will help our clients to manage the challenges of an increasingly international market. This acquisition allows First Data to deliver clients a wider range of solutions that will allow them to take full advantage of the many future opportunities."

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