New Player Signals Interest in First Data/Concord Merger
DENVER - First Data Corporation announced that it has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission its intent to issue shares that reflect its merger with Memphis, Tennessee-based Concord EFS. Concord is the parent company for the Star Network, one of the largest ATM and EFT processing networks in the U.S. A merger between First Data and Concord would mean that one company processed roughly 75% of the nation's EFT transactions that require personal identification numbers. First Data also announced that it has refiled its notification of the pending merger with the anti-trust regulators in the federal government. The re-filing restarts the 30-day clock for reviewing the merger and thus effectively gives First Data more time to defend its proposed merger before anti-trust regulators. Analysts have speculated that anti-trust regulators may have concerns about the merger in light of the merged company's size in the marketplace for PIN based debit transactions. "This approach is consistent with First Data's approach in the past, which is to engage directly with the regulators to address their questions," the company said. First Data believes that the approval process will be equally effective with this transaction, it added. In other news, First Data announced that it has received a request for information pertinent to the merger from the National Association of Attorneys General. The firm said that it will provide the Payment Systems Working Group within the NAAG with the same information it provided federal anti-trust regulators. The NAAG represents Attorneys General from the states and published media reports have contained analysts' speculation that NAAG's interest might signal interest in the proposed merger from the states. David John, a banking and legal analyst with the Washington based Heritage Foundation has said that the states, particularly the larger ones, have begun to take a greater degree of interest in mergers and other corporate activity which could have a particular impact on their states.