The proposed mega-deal that has Fiserv Inc. buying First Data Corp. for $22 billion presents integration issues that could take up to 10 years to iron out, according to a new report.
“The integration of two companies of this scale will undoubtedly be a challenge—the short-term shock will take more than 18 months to recover from, with longer implications (culture, systems, etc.) possibly resulting in friction for a decade,” says the report from merchant-acquiring consulting firm The Strawhecker Group.
Processor mergers involve integrating disparate computer and other technological systems as well as combining executive, sales, marketing, and administrative systems. While Fiserv has made its share of acquisitions, especially of bill-payment provider CheckFree, First Data is famous for the companies big and small it has swallowed over more than three decades. They included giants such as First Financial Management, Card Establishment Services, and Concord EFS down to smaller tech companies such as Clover to, more recently, specialist processors such as CardConnect and the independent sales organization BluePay.