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NEW YORK, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Fiserv Inc. (FISV.O) said on Thursday it will buy electronic payment company CheckFree Corp. CKFR.O for $4.4 billion in cash to expand its customer base among large financial institutions.
CheckFree shareholders will receive $48 per share, a 30 percent premium to the shares’ Aug. 1 closing price of $36.83.
The deal, one of a string of recent transactions in the financial processing sector, should help boost revenue for Fiserv, which provides back-office processing services.
Fiserv expects $100 million in annual cost savings and more than $125 million in extra revenue for the combined company and the deal is expected to add to its underlying cash earnings per share in 2008.
The combined company will have pro-forma revenue of about $6 billion. The deal is expected to close by year-end.
“CheckFree’s industry-leading payment and Internet banking capabilities will significantly accelerate our strategic transformation, extending our service platform to the largest financial institutions,” said Jeffery Yabuki, president and chief executive officer of Fiserv.
CheckFree said it serves 21 of the top 25 financial institutions in the United States and processes more than 1 billion transactions a year.
Data and transaction processing businesses often need to make heavy investments in technology to eke out cost savings and processing efficiencies.
Those investments can be difficult for smaller companies to finance on their own, which has helped spur mergers in the sector.
Fiserv is being advised by Credit Suisse, while CheckFree is advised by Goldman Sachs.
CheckFree also announced that for its fiscal year ended June 30 it expects to report GAAP revenue in the range of $970 million to $973 million, and underlying revenue in the range of $993 million to $996 million.
CheckFree expects GAAP earnings for fiscal 2007 to be in the range of $1.35 and $1.37 per share, and underlying earnings for fiscal 2007 to be in the range of $1.87 to $1.89 per share.
CheckFree plans to release 2007 fiscal year earnings on Aug. 3 rather than Aug. 9 as previously announced. (Reporting by Dan Wilchins and Mark McSherry)