Facing major consolidation among rival processors. Global Payments
Inc. and Total System Services Inc. (TSYS) made it official Tuesday they
are merging in an all-stock deal that values TSYS at $21.5 billion and
will leave Global with 52% of the combined entity. The acquisition is
expected to close in the fourth quarter, pending regulatory and
shareholder approvals. The deal is not subject to any financing
conditions, the companies say.

The pending merger follows on the heels of two big processing combinations announced just since the first of the year. In March, Fidelity National Information Services Inc. agreed to buy Worldpay Inc. for $43 billion in a deal expected to close in the third quarter. And in January Fiserv Inc. said it would acquire First Data Corp. in a $22-billion deal expected to close in the second half of the year.

In light of these deals, observers expected a similar move from Global and TSYS, particularly as new of a possible agreement between the two Georgia-based companies emerged late last week. “This is largely a defensive play that was spurred by the Fiserv/First Data and FIS/Worldpay announcements,” notes Jared Drieling, senior director of business intelligence at The Strawhecker Group, an Omaha, Neb.-based consultancy, in an email message. “We are not surprised that two of the larger players left standing were contemplating their options.”

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