Western Union owner to buy electronic payment rival Concord EFS for $6.7 billion

Wednesday, April 2nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ First Data Corp., the parent of Western Union, is buying rival electronic payments processor Concord EFS for about $6.7 billion in stock, officials said Wednesday.

The companies said the move would provide banks, merchants and their customers with more options on electronic-payment transactions. The combined would have about $10 billion in annual revenues with more than 31,000 employees worldwide.

``This is a significant step in developing an open and flexible electronic payments system that will foster competition to the benefit of consumers, merchants and banks,'' First Data chairman and chief executive Charlie Fote said in a statement.

Dick Kiphart, chairman of Memphis-based Concord, said Concord brings experience in processing payments in growing markets such as supermarkets and gas stations and owns the STAR Network for debit cards.

The deal is subject to approval by shareholders of each company and regulators.

First Data, based in Denver, serves about 3 million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers around the world in making financial transactions by credit or debit card, the Internet, money transfer, money order or check.

Concord provides technology and network systems that make electronic payments and other financial transactions faster and more secure than paper-based payments.