KKR eyes market blitz of up to six IPOs
By Martin Arnold in London
Published: August 1 2009 03:00 | Last updated: August 1 2009 03:00
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the world's biggest buy-out group, is preparing up to six companies for initial public offerings worth billions of dollars, including Toys R Us, as it sells some of its most valuable groups back to the stock market.
There have been virtually no IPOs in the past two years but, as the worst of the financial crisis recedes and stock markets start to rebound, investors are eagerly waiting to see if private equity firms such as KKR will start listing companies bought in the boom years.
A person familiar with KKR said the companies it was preparing to float included US toy retailer Toys R Us; HCA, one of America's biggest hospital groups; First Data, the credit card processor; TDC, the Danish telecommunications group; and Dollar General, the discount retailer.
"We think there are five to six companies in the [KKR] portfolio that can be taken public in the next 12 months," said a person familiar with KKR's plans...
Monday, August 3, 2009
Merchant ID Theft Advisory Board Offers Prevention Tactics
E-ditor's Note: It's great that they are doing this, but I have a rather "stupid type" of idea. How about instead of incorporating "prevention" tactics, we incorporated "E-limination tactics?"
Here's one: E-liminate Typing. That's the Cause...The E-ffect is we'll E-liminate Phishing and the threats from Malware, ClonedWebsites, maybe even a couple terrorist attacks to boot!
Phoenix, Aug. 3, 2009 -- An epidemic of ID Theft--nine million cases reported annually and 262 million ID records reported stolen since 2005 --is the driver of Merchants Information Solutions' creation of the U.S.'s first volunteer business-government Board dedicated to stopping ID thieves by creating and delivering the latest and best prevention practices.
High level experts in ID Theft and Information Technology from the FBI, Avnet, GoDaddy.com, Merchants Information Solutions, a bank fraud specialist, cyber forensics specialist and a media crisis expert are among the founders of the Merchants ID Theft Advisory Board.
ID theft gangs are often months ahead of law enforcement with new tactics. From getting gang members hired at target companies and new hacking techniques to pretending to be legitimate vendors with the purpose of data access, ID thieves are creative and relentless. The Board plans to try and level the playing field by getting effective prevention knowledge and methods out rapidly and frequently.
"With hundreds of business clients who reduce risk by using our ID Theft recovery protection for millions of their employees and customers, we are very aware of the latest ID theft and data breach crimes and trends. It's not pretty and it's getting worse. We decided we could do something significant to help legitimate organizations protect themselves with this remarkable Board of very distinguished national and international experts," said Mark Pribish, Board Chair and VP of the ID Theft Practice at Merchants.
The Merchants ID Theft Advisory Board voted at its inaugural meeting to create and distribute free a sophisticated and up-to-the-minute best practices guide in the prevention of ID theft and data breach events. The group's unique and high level expertise in matters related to data protection and breaches provides a formidable think tank of real world professionals.
Most data breach events occur through social engineering including current and former employees and vendors who are often part of criminal networks. Though organizations may have protections in place, the ever-evolving and sinister tactics by ID thieves require ongoing prevention updates. By comprising the Board of real-world savvy and very sophisticated specialists, the Merchants ID Theft Advisory Board is set to play a key role in offering the latest methods of stopping ID theft and the pain it causes.
Pribish, a national authority and speaker on ID theft prevention and recovery and Board co-chair Gregg Ostro, a media expert experienced in data breach crises researched extensively to find the right mix of Board members. The result is a group of highly qualified specialists from leading organizations with a direct interest in minimizing the legal, financial and brand image impact of data breach events.
"This preeminent group that has been assembled to combat ID Theft through education and recommending best practices is nothing short of world class. My goals for this Board are to guide the discussion, help with information preparation and ensure the best tools of communication are created so we can empower organizations with effective prevention," Ostro, Advisory Board co-chair and CEO of GO Media Cos. said.
The all volunteer Merchants ID Theft Advisory Board includes: Kent Ailes, VP Risk Management, AZ Federal Credit Union; David Beauchamp, Partner, Bryan Cave, LLP; Michael Benoit, Partner, Hudson Cook, LLP; Paul Charles, International Entrepreneur & Principal, Charles & Associates, LLC; John Iannarelli, Supervisory Special Agent, FBI; Christine Jones, Chief Counsel, GoDaddy.com; Gregg Ostro, President & CEO, Go Media Cos.; Steve Phillips, Chief Information Officer, Avnet; Mike O'Shaughnessy, COO, Forensic Consulting Solutions, LLC; Scott Smith, President & Managing Director, NXG Strategies; Russ Johnson, President & CEO, Merchants Information Solutions, Inc.; Mark Pribish, VP & ID Theft Practice Leader, Merchants Information Solutions, Inc.
About Merchants Information Solutions: Founded in 1912, Merchants is a leading provider of low-cost identity theft protection and recovery solutions, helping to support the risk management objectives of financial institutions, associations, employer groups, and the automotive industry, by offering revenue opportunities through fee-based subscription services. Merchants also has a robust line of on-demand background screening solutions empowering pre-employment, tenant screening and behavioral physiological assessment clients to instantly assess candidates in minutes. For more information, visit www.merchantsinfo.com .
Source: Company press release.
OCC sends out letter regarding CARD Act requirements
Washington, D.C., Aug. 3, 2009 -- On May 22, 2009, the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (Credit CARD Act) was signed into law. This law amends the Truth in Lending Act, 15 USC 1601 et seq., to impose certain requirements on credit card issuers that raise cardholders’ annual percentage rates (APRs) based on factors including the credit risk of the cardholder, market conditions, and other factors.
Effective August 22, 2010, Section 148 of the Credit CARD Act1 requires that if a creditor increases the APR based on such factors:
- The creditor must maintain reasonable methodologies for assessing those factors.
- Thecreditor must, at least every six months, review accounts on which theAPR has increased to assess whether such factors have changed,including whether any risk has declined.
- The creditor must do so for all accounts on which the APR has been increased since January 1, 2009.
- Thecreditor must reduce the APR previously increased when a reduction isindicated by the review, although the Credit CARD Act does not “requirea reduction in any specific amount.”
- In the event of an APR increase, the creditor must provide the cardholder with written notice of the reasons for the increase.
However, because its requirements will apply to APR increases made on or after January 1, 2009, the OCC reminds national banks that, effective August 22, 2010, they must conduct the periodic reviews required by the Credit CARD Act on any accounts on which the APRs were increased as described above on or after January 1, 2009. Accordingly, national banks must maintain and have available such information concerning APR increases for such accounts as needed to enable them to conduct the required reviews.
Please direct questions about this matter to your supervisory office, to the Compliance Policy Division at (202) 874-4428, or to the Community and Consumer Law Division at (202) 874-5750.
Source: Company press release.
Visa expands presence in Iraq
San Francisco, Aug. 3, 2009 -- Visa Inc, the world's leading retail electronic payments network, today announced that Bank of Baghdad, Al Amwal an electronic banking services company, and a consortium of 13 Iraqi banks, have joined the Visa payment network in Iraq.
- Visa grants two awards of excellence to Barclays Bank Egypt based on 2008 performance
- Visa and Jordanian Banks partner to launch the Visa Electron promotion
- HSBC Bank Egypt awarded Visa certificate for operational excellence
- American Visa cardholders contribute $144m to Egypt's tourism economy in 2008
- U.S. Visa cardholders contributed $733m to UAE's tourism economy in 2008
The wider acceptance network will allow Iraqis and individuals visiting Iraq to use their Visa cards to pay for goods and services at merchant locations throughout the country such as airport duty free shops, select hotels, travel agencies and a number of restaurants and other stores. In addition, Iraqi customers will have access to a greater choice of payment cards through Bank of Baghdad.
Commenting on the expansion, Tony Gougassian, Visa Inc.'s Area Manager for Iraq, Levant and Qatar, said:
'Our expansion in Iraq is an excellent example of Visa's approach to growing electronic payments and extending the value of Visa to new stakeholders and new marketplaces. We are committed to bringing the benefits of electronic payments to new marketplaces through our partner banks and in turn helping banks to become leaders in their region.'
Mr. Gougassian added: 'We are delighted to extend our global payment services in Iraq and help bring the social and economic benefits which come with electronic payment acceptance. These include stimulating economic growth, promoting transparency and accountability, while also increasing the number of people with access to the formal banking system. Our partnership with Al Amwal and Bank of Baghdad means that Iraqi consumers will be able to take advantage of the increased security, flexibility and convenience that a Visa card offers. Visa debit and credit cards will provide Iraqis and those visiting the country, with a safe and convenient way to shop and access funds, both at home and abroad.
Mr. Atheer Al Qadhi, Executive Director of AMWAL said: 'This transformation of the Iraqi payments marketplace from cash to electronic payments is our main goal. It is a privilege to be associated with Visa Inc, a leader in advancing global commerce and to be able to provide our customers access to the Visa global payments network.'
Mr. Al Qadhi added; 'Al Amwal services cover all governorates of Iraq. Today we have 200 of our point of sale devices in Iraq and we are looking to double this by the end of this year. We believe that building our strategic collaboration with Visa will allow us to continue to advance the payments marketplace in Iraq.'
Dr Younes Brouche, Executive Vice Chairman of Bank of Baghdad, said: 'Bank of Baghdad's vision is to be the leading financial services provider in Iraq. We work every day to make our customers' banking experience simpler and more convenient. For this reason we are continually updating and enhancing our products and services to better meet our customers' needs. We are delighted to partner with Visa Inc, who have been at the forefront of the payment business globally. This partnership is a vital one for our bank and will enable us to build a robust and accessible banking network for our customers in Iraq and abroad. Bank of Baghdad has grown steadily from a solid foundation and we now offer an unrivalled range of banking services for corporate, business and private customers.'
Source: Company press release.
Trend Micro revamps online threat resource center
Cupertino, Calif., Aug. 3, 2009 -- TrendWatch (www.trendmicro.com/us/trendwatch/index.html ), Trend Micro's online threat resource center, is revamped and refreshed with even more free tools, information, news and advisories, and resources for customers and partners to better educate themselves about the latest online threats and attacks - all consolidated in one, easy-to-navigate location.
Free Cloud-Ready Security Software Plus Free Web Site Security Tool
Both free tools are available for download at TrendWatch. VM Protection, gained from Trend Micro's recent acquisition of Third Brigade, is a free-of-charge software package for enterprises and service providers who want to fully take advantage of their virtual environments, up to 100 virtual machines. It complements the security-hardened VMware platform and helps organizations achieve protection and compliance for VMware virtual machines (VMs) that are deployed in private or public cloud computing environments.
The free software can be deployed quickly and managed centrally, and is integrated with the VMware platform. Multiple layers of protection are combined in a single software agent to increase security and gain visibility into malicious activity targeting VMs.
The TrendWatch Widget is a free Web site threat resource tool for consumers, IT staff, channel partners and anyone interested in receiving up-to-date information on the security of the Web. The widget provides current threat levels for Web, email and file; the latest Trend Micro malware blog entries; current security advisories (malware and vulnerabilities); and the ability to check the safety of a URL directly from the desktop by linking into the company's cloud-client infrastructure, the Trend Micro(TM) Smart Protection Network(TM), to help identify and block threats before they have a chance to reach the desktop and cause infection.
With a fresh new look and feel, TrendWatch holds immediate, streamlined access to information on current threat activities, awareness and prevention tools, educational videos, and detailed threat analysis reports generated by our leading threat researchers from TrendLabs(SM) Trend Micro's global network of research, service and support centers.
Some of the newest additions to TrendWatch include:
- Aseries of educational and understandable videos on how the Trend MicroSmart Protection Network protects millions of customers.
- Podcasts by David Perry, global director of education,on what's happening in the threat landscape. The first episode,"Invisible Malware," details online threats that lurk in your computerand can't be seen with the naked eye.
- Useful tools that check the safety of a URL, file or an IP address.
- Interesting facts and figures organized by country and region.
- Trend Micro's popular "Top 10 Lists" of most spoofed companies, most popular spam, most spammed countries, and more.
- Monthly threat round ups that gather up all the global threat news and happenings of that month in one report.
- Analyticalthreat studies that examine some of the world's most notorious Webthreats. The recent June report centers on the WALEDAC Botnet and itsuse of social engineering, encrypted communication and fast-fluxnetworks to infiltrate computers.
About Trend Micro:
Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in Internet content security, focuses on securing the exchange of digital information for businesses and consumers. A pioneer and industry vanguard, Trend Micro is advancing integrated threat management technology to protect operational continuity, personal information, and property from malware, spam, data leaks and the newest Web threats. Visit TrendWatch at http://www.us.trendmicro.com/us/trendwatch/ to learn more about the latest threats. Trend Micro's flexible solutions, available in multiple form factors, are supported 24/7 by threat intelligence experts around the globe. Many of these solutions are powered by the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network, a next generation cloud-client content security infrastructure designed to protect customers from Web threats. A transnational company, with headquarters in Tokyo, Trend Micro's trusted security solutions are sold through its business partners worldwide. Please visit www.trendmicro.com .
Source: Company press release.
MoneyGram, Affinity Global launch mobile money transfer service
Minneapolis and Dallas, Aug. 3, 2009 -- MoneyGram International (NYSE: MGI), a leading provider of global payment services, and Affinity Global Services, a leading mobile financial services company, today announced an agreement that will enable mobile money transfer receives in important markets around the globe, bringing greater convenience and extending the benefits of MoneyGram services to a new category of consumers.
According to the World Bank, more than 200 million people live outside their home country. Mobile networks, which are now globally available, help immigrants stay connected and mobile money transfer applications will enable these and other subscribers better manage their finances. The MoneyGram and Affinity Global Services alliance will allow consumers to use MoneyGram’s agent network of over 180,000 locations around the world to send money to an account associated with a mobile device.
“In developing economies, there are more people with mobile phones than traditional bank accounts. We see a tremendous opportunity to better serve these consumers by delivering MoneyGram remittances in compelling new formats such as mobile technology,” said Anthony Ryan, MoneyGram president and chief executive officer. “Our relationship with Affinity Global Services will significantly enhance our agent network by allowing us to partner with mobile network operators in key corridors such as Latin America, Asia and Africa, and provide convenient, affordable and reliable money transfer services to consumers around the world.”
Affinity Global Services is the first Mobile Gateway to facilitate MoneyGram services, and will provide technical connectivity between MoneyGram and various mobile network operators. The MoneyGram mobile money transfer service will use Affinity Global’s MADE™ Platform, enabling MoneyGram to connect to virtually any mobile network operator. The parties are currently in discussion with a mobile network operator which is expected to be the first to launch the service to consumers later this year.
”MoneyGram understands that success in the mobile sector is about more than just technology,” said Ritchie Skelding, Affinity Global Services chairman. “To make mobile money transfer services work on a global scale requires a partner with world-class systems and a willingness to partner with mobile operators. Success also takes a commitment to deliver consumer value in a simple and transparent way. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ in this rapidly evolving space so MoneyGram’s entrance into the mobile money sector will help accelerate adoption of these services.”
About Affinity Global Services, Inc.
Affinity Global Services is a mobile solutions company based in Dallas, Texas. We believe in bringing economic freedom and opportunity to underbanked people around the world.
Established in 2004 and funded by US and international venture capitalists, Affinity boasts a leadership team of wireless and financial services veterans. We understand that wireless technology can deliver financial empowerment to those in need – and that providing such empowerment benefits everyone. For more information, visit www.affinityglobalservices.com .
MoneyGram International offers more control and more choices for people separated from friends and family by distance or those with limited bank relationships to meet their financial needs. A leading global payment services company, MoneyGram International helps consumers to pay bills quickly and safely send money around the world in as little as 10 minutes. Its global network is comprised of 180,000 agent locations in 190 countries and territories. MoneyGram’s convenient and reliable network includes retailers, international post offices and financial institutions. Now, MoneyGram offers its most loyal customers MoneyGram Rewards for cash discounts on eligible money transfers from the U.S. – visit www.mymoneygram.com to register today. To learn more about money transfer or bill payment at an agent location or online, please visit www.moneygram.com .
Source: Company press release.
There are some dumb moves and then there are some really dumb moves. Like robbing a Dunkin Donuts full of off duty cops. Here's one for the ages. A hacker planted a fake ATM at the DEFCON conference in Las Vegas, the world's largest hacker convention. Was it a joke? If not, the IQ of the hacker who placed it there is...
The hooligans in this case have a dry sense of humor or are extremely unlucky: Either way, we can't help but get a chuckle out of the fact that someone placed their smart card skimmin' faux ATM at the Riviera Hotel Casino in Las Vegas -- during DEFCON, the world's largest hacker convention. No one can say exactly how long the kiosk was there -- at least the kids were smart enough to place it right outside the security office, one of the few places in the conference center not under surveillance. It was picking up on this last fact that aroused the suspicion of Brian Markus, CEO of Aries Security. When shining a light through the glass panel that should house a camera, he instead found the PC that was set up to skim people's data. He then notified security, who removed the device and once again made the world safe for hackers and their bank accounts.
TNB extends card services agreement with First Data
Denver and Dallas, Aug. 3, 2009 -- TNB Card Services of Dallas today announced a renewal agreement for First Data to provide credit and debit card processing services through 2014. Working with First Data since 1993, TNB offers credit and debit card processing, including STAR ATM Network services, to credit unions across the U.S. First Data also provides remittance processing services to TNB and its clients.
“Our long-term partnership with First Data allows us to deliver significant value to our credit union clients via industry-leading technology and payment systems. We renewed this agreement because First Data demonstrated it is the best partner to help us achieve our vision of helping credit unions compete in the electronic payments industry,” said Scott Wagner, executive vice president, TNB Card Services.
TNB provides its credit union clients with full-service credit and debit card processing, ATM terminal driving, and enriched card products that provide extra benefits, features and rewards as well as portfolio consulting, risk-based pricing tools and powerful fraud detection systems.
“We’re grateful to continue our relationship with TNB and look forward to bringing new services and opportunities for growth to TNB clients,” said Matt Kardell, senior vice president, Sales and Strategic Relationships for First Data’s Financial Services business unit. ”This long-term renewal with TNB is a great example of First Data’s ongoing commitment to the group service provider market.”
About TNB Card Services
TNB Card Services, owned and directed by credit unions since 1976, provides electronic payments processing for credit unions nationwide. Serving more than 550 financial institutions of all sizes and managing more than 2 million cards, Dallas-based TNB enables credit unions to enhance member loyalty through credit union-branded card products. For more information about TNB, go to www.tnbcard.com or call Mark Fenner at 1-800-422-0733 ext. 6655.
About First Data
First Data powers the global economy by making it easy, fast and secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of electronic payment. Whether the choice of payment is a gift card, a credit or debit card or a check, First Data securely processes the transaction and harnesses the power of the data to deliver intelligence and insight for millions of merchant locations and thousands of card issuers in 36 countries. For more information, visit www.firstdata.com .
Source: Company press release.
Bank Technology News | August 2009
By John Adams
Believingsmall and medium sized businesses are an underserved market forelectronic payment platforms, online payments workflow firm Bill.comhas introduced Bill.com ePayments, which lets businesses pay anyemployee, person or vendor regardless of size via electronic directdeposit.
Bill.com hopes to gain traction among small and medium sized business(SMBs), a segment that’s been slower to adopt electronic billing thanconsumers and large corporates, by simplifying processing and making it“green.”...
Continue Reading at American Banker/BTN
Fiserv celebrates 25 years by remembering founders and clients
Brookfield, Wis., Aug. 3, 2009 -- Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV - News), the leading global provider of financial services technology solutions, announced today the celebration of its 25th year as a company. It was July 31, 1984 when Sunshine State Systems, Inc. in Tampa, Florida and First Data Processing based in Milwaukee, Wis., combined to form Fiserv, the first national financial services company, with its headquarters in Milwaukee.
The regional data processors combined to serve small banks and thrifts, growing organically and through more than 150 acquisitions, from a $21 million business, with 350 employees in 1984, to a $4.7 billion Fortune 500 company, with 20,000 employees and the No. 1 ranking on the FinTech 100 list of technology partners serving the financial services industry.
“We had a great idea – to focus on data processing for banks and build from our foundation of regional operations to create a nationwide enterprise. Now, 25 years later, Fiserv is a global powerhouse, far exceeding anyone’s expectations,” said George Dalton, Fiserv Co-Founder, and former Chairman, Chief Executive Officer (1984-2000).
Fiserv went public, trading on NASDAQ under the symbol “FISV” in 1986, as a $70 million data processor. Within four years, Fiserv was serving some of the nation’s largest financial institutions.
Leslie Muma, Co-Founder of Fiserv, former President, (1984-2005), Chief Executive Officer, (1999--2005), and member of the Board of Directors, (1984-2006), added, “Fiserv had expertise to offer banks and credit unions at the perfect time. Banks then, as they are now, were looking for solutions to handle their processing needs and provide their customers with the latest technology at the lowest price. Since then many competitors have followed essentially the same business model that George and I envisioned, but we are proud to say Fiserv remains the leader.”
In 1991, Fiserv entered the commercial bank, international, and credit union core account processing markets for the first time, doubling the number of clients with the acquisition of Citicorp Information Resources, a subsidiary of Citicorp. Today Fiserv sells its solutions in more than 40 countries serving clients around the globe.
In 1995, Fiserv acquired Information Technology, Inc., (ITI), in Lincoln, Nebraska, expanding the number of account processing clients for Fiserv, and gaining the most widely implemented account processing platform in the United States, Premier. Don Dillon, Founder of ITI, former Fiserv Vice Chairman (1995-2000) and current Chairman of the Board, said, “Fiserv serves more clients today, and has continually created value for our clients by anticipating their needs. We continue to offer them the best possible solutions, with a cultural commitment to earn their trust every day. At Fiserv, we continue to serve community banks, regional banks and, credit unions and, notably, provide every one of the top 100 banks in the U.S. with one or more of our products and services.”
In 2007, Fiserv made its largest acquisition of its first 25 years, buying CheckFree Corporation, a world leader in financial electronic commerce, and the leading provider of online banking, online bill pay and electronic bills. Since this acquisition a primary focus of Fiserv has been to lead digital innovation and provide integrated solutions for the company’s 16,000 clients. In February of this year, Fiserv announced a new go-to-market strategy in which all business units were branded Fiserv, bringing one name to the market and optimizing access to the company’s considerable strengths, technology solutions and expertise for its clients.
“The bridge between our first 25 years and the next is our commitment to serving clients. We are focused on delivering technology solutions that are differentiating and innovative,” said Jeffery Yabuki, Fiserv President and Chief Executive Officer. “We know our real advantage is the quality of our people and their commitment to excellence which translates to the best experience for our clients. We are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for our great company.”
Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV - News) is the leading global provider of information management and electronic commerce systems for the financial services industry, driving innovation that transforms experiences for financial institutions and their customers. Ranked No. 1 on the FinTech 100 survey of top technology partners to the financial services industry, Fiserv celebrates its 25th year in 2009. For more information, visit www.fiserv.com .
Source: Company press release.