STM & PROTON WORLD

STMicroelectronics has acquired Proton World International from ERG Ltd in a deal valued at US$66 million. Under terms of the deal, ERG Group will receive cash consideration of US$60 million, plus a business-related consideration for up to 10 years. Additionally, ST and ERG Group will enter into a long-term business relationship through a technology license agreement and will work together in the deployment of PWI’s technology in transit applications worldwide. Based in Belgium, PWI has approximately 90 employees and develops smart card system software (card OS, middleware and application software), especially for e-purse, EMV debit/credit cards, PKI security, and data management applications. The deal is expected to close by June 30th.

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Kaiser Permanente & GPN

Global Payments Inc., announced that Kaiser Permanente has expanded its relationship to include a complete suite of processing services including authorization and settlement for credit cards, debit cards and checks, as well as online reporting capabilities. Under this new agreement, Kaiser Permanente will use a variety of Global processing solutions through many of its business segments including optical, pharmacy and medical facilities.

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BIG BANK UPGRADES

Bank Millennium, formerly BIG Bank GDANSKI, is upgrading its information technology systems with the help of Fiserv.
The migration involves moving both one million retail and corporate customers to the Fiserv core banking and teller solution. As a result, Bank Millennium staff can access information on any customer from all of the bank’s 367 branches across the country. The bank is owned by Banco Comercial Portugues.

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Tidel Delisted

Tidel Technologies, Inc. announced it has been notified by the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel of its decision to delist the Company’s common stock from the Nasdaq SmallCap Market effective with the open of business on March 26, 2003. The Company believes it will continue to have a market for its stock, which would trade on the National Quotation Bureau’s Pink Sheets.

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Sears Card Sale

Sears confirmed late yesterday it is looking to unload its $30.8 billion credit card portfolio. The company says that even though its credit card business generated more than $1.5 billion of operating income last year and produced more than 60% of total profits, it wants to focus on its core retail business. Sears’ Retail-related businesses delivered $1.2 billion in operating income in 2002. Sears’ Credit-related business includes $18.4 billion in “Sears Card” receivables, as well as $12.4 billion in MasterCard receivables. The company has 25 million active accounts, according to CardData. The Sears credit business has been under pressure since October when it fired Kevin Keleghan, the former president of the credit division. Sears said its CEO lost confidence in Keleghan after the company uncovered serious problems in its credit card portfolio. Sears had to beef up reserves by more than $200 million to cover bad accounts. Sears also recently admitted that going outside its extensive customer base for credit card customers has not been profitable. The retailer said that 15% of the “Gold MasterCard” balances it acquired last year, through direct mail, have proven to be low quality with higher than average loss rates. Sears introduced the “Gold MasterCard” in 2000, converting 12 million of its 60 million retail cardholders to the “Sears Gold MasterCard” within the first twelve months. (CF Library 5/7/01; 10/7/02; 1/16/03; 1/29/03; 2/26/03).

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VISA Business

VISA USA reported this morning that its suite of commercial payments and information management services produced volume totaling $77.7 billion last year, an increase of 20.2% over 2001. VISA said its small business segment grew 31% last year. VISA also says its next generation electronic B2B payment solution, designed to bridge the current payment gap in the procure-to-pay process to replace the use of checks, is on track to become generally available in the latter half of this year. The “VISA Commerce” solution conducted live transactions over the “VisaNet” system in testing last year. Meanwhile, VISA reported that approximately 12% of total U.S. consumer spending is now conducted on a VISA-branded card, more than all other major card brands combined. VISA previously announced that it processed $989 billion in consumer and commercial volume in 2002, an 8.1% increase over 2001. For complete details on the network statistics visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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STM Buys PWI

STMicroelectronics is acquiring Proton World International from ERG Ltd in a deal valued at $66 million. Under terms of the deal, ERG Group will receive cash consideration of $60 million, plus a business-related consideration for up to 10 years. Additionally, ST and ERG Group will enter into a long-term business relationship through a technology license agreement and will work together in the deployment of PWI’s technology in transit applications worldwide. Based in Belgium, PWI has approximately 90 employees and develops smart card system software (card OS, middleware and application software), especially for e-purse, EMV debit/credit cards, PKI security, and data management applications. The deal is expected to close by June 30th.

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