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First Data Acquires Remaining 50% of Cardservice International; Cardservice Now Fully Owned by First Data; Strengthens Cardservice and First Data Merchant Services Relationship.

DENVER -- First Data Corp. , a leader in electronic commerce and payment services, announced that it has acquired the remaining 50% ownership interest in Cardservice International, a leader in electronic commerce and payment services to local and regional traditional and Internet businesses. As of December 28, 2001 First Data holds 100% ownership interest in Cardservice.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition leverages the processing systems, resources and expertise of First Data with the unique sales and customer service capabilities of Cardservice International. The company is well known for its risk management tools and best practices in meeting the needs of its non-face-to-face, Internet and traditional merchant clients.

First Data has been providing merchant processing services for Cardservice since its inception in 1988. Cardservice International, based in Moorpark, Calif., employs 800 people and utilizes a network of 2,500 independent sales representatives. Cardservice will continue to serve clients under the Cardservice brand in the market segments in which it operates.

"This transaction increases First Data's commitment to meeting the needs of merchants in all market segments," said Pam Patsley, president of First Data Merchant Services, and senior executive vice president of First Data. "The combined strength of First Data and Cardservice will enable us to deliver specialized payment-processing solutions to a broader base of merchants. This acquisition augments First Data's core strengths with Cardservice's unique business model and specialty services such as sales support and risk management. That includes capitalizing on the highly successful Cardservice network of sales agents. First Data looks forward to increasing our support of the sales agent network."

Chuck Burtzloff, founder and past president of Cardservice International, will continue to support the company through both the transition period and in the year to come.

"The alignment between Cardservice and First Data represents the best of both worlds," said Burtzloff. "Together, we have the scale, resources and aggressive entrepreneurial organization needed to penetrate key Internet and traditional markets."

Since 1997, First Data has held a 50% ownership interest in Cardservice International and had been accounting for it using the equity method of accounting. As anticipated, First Data will consolidate Cardservice for the full year 2001.

Established in 1988, Cardservice processes every type of electronic payment method, including credit, debit, electronic benefits transfer and electronic checks. In addition, the company offers popular point-of-sale hardware and software for brick-and-mortar and Internet payment acceptance. To prevent and monitor fraudulent activities, Cardservice has one of the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art exception processing and loss prevention systems in the industry. Cardservice supports its merchants with customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in 140 languages and dialects. For more information, please visit the company's Web site at .

First Data Corp. , with global headquarters in Denver, powers the global economy. As the leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves approximately 2.6 million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, making it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment. First Data Merchant Services, a subsidiary of First Data Corp., annually processes and settles almost nine billion payment processing transactions. Through partnerships and relationships with leading financial institutions and independent sales organizations, First Data Merchant Services delivers industry leading electronic payment and e-commerce services and solutions.

With 29,000 employees worldwide, First Data provides credit, debit, smart card and stored-value card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; Internet commerce solutions; Western Union(R) money transfers and money orders; and check processing and verification services throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Spain and Germany. Its money transfer agent network includes approximately 117,000 agent locations in more than 185 countries. For more information, please visit the company's Web site at .


Contact: David Banks, Media Relations, +1-303-967-8057, or Kim Patmore, Chief Financial Officer, +1-303-488-8388, both of First Data Corporation

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 2, 2002
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