Fidelity, Standard & Poors Acquire Financial Tech Firms

Two financial technology firms were acquired to beef up their new parent companies' IT offerings. Fidelity National Financial took over InterCept, while Standard & Poor's announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Capital IQ.

Tis the season for technology transactions in the financial industry.

Fidelity National Financial Inc., a Fortune 500 provider of products and outsourced services and solutions to financial institutions and the real estate industry, announced it will take over InterCept Inc. in its eighth technology acquisition in the last 18 months.

InterCept provides both outsourced and in-house integrated core banking solutions for approximately 425 community banks, including loan and deposit processing, and general ledger and financial accounting operations. InterCept also operates item processing and check imaging operations, providing imaging for customer statements, clearing and settlement, reconciliation, and automated exception processing in both outsourced and in-house relationships for approximately 720 customers.

Its electronic funds transfer business provides network connections to most regional and national ATM/debit card networks and a secure debit program that provides fraud protection for lost, stolen or counterfeit debit cards. InterCepts other operations include an online teller platform, regulatory reporting software, portfolio management software and advanced report storage and retrieval.

"The acquisition of InterCept continues our strategy of building more significant critical mass in our technology solutions for the domestic banking and credit union marketplace and provides FNF with an incremental 425 core processing customers and more than 700 additional item processing customers," said FNF Chairman and CEO William Foley II. "With this latest in a series of financial institution technology acquisitions in both the United States and internationally over the last 18 months, we are confident that we now possess the most comprehensive array of processing solutions that any single company offers the global financial institution market, from the largest U.S. money center banks and credit unions to de novo financial institutions to overseas financial institutions of all sizes."

Fidelity Information Services software processes nearly 50 percent of all U.S. residential mortgages, has processing and technology relationships with 45 of the top 50 U.S. banks, as well as more than 1,500 community-based financial institutions, and has clients in more than 50 countries.

As a result of the acquisition of InterCept, and the relatively weak and unpredictable current equity market conditions, FNF has decided to postpone the anticipated initial public offering of Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. until at least the first quarter of 2005.

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, FNF has offered InterCept shareholders $18.90 per share in cash, or in a combination of cash and FNF stock. The deal is valued at approximately $400 million. InterCept had retained Jefferies & Co. Inc., an investment banking firm, to help with the sale of the firm in June.

Next Page: Standard & Poors acquisition move.