By Steve Bills, American Banker Fiserv Inc. may look outside the United States for its next big acquisition. Jeffery W. Yabuki, the Brookfield, Wis., technology vendor's president and chief executive, said last week that international markets offer its best chance for growth. "We have the majority of the products that we need for here in the U.S.," Yabuki told analysts on a conference call to discuss Fiserv's first-quarter earnings report. Fiserv already operates in 60 countries in areas such as risk management and account and payment processing, Yabuki said, and his company is looking for ways to drive up organic growth and for acquisition opportunities around the world. "We're actually in that process right now, and at our investor day in the fall, we're going to talk about what we see as our strategy." Yabuki said Fiserv would try to capitalize on Fidelity National Information Services Inc.'s planned acquisition of Metavante Technologies Inc. That deal, which was announced last month and is expected to close next quarter. "We had anticipated that someplace in the competitive landscape, people would try to begin to come together to maybe more closely emulate what we've been able to accomplish over the last couple of years. And so we certainly see that this is an attempt to do that," Yabuki said, noting that Fiserv bought the Atlanta online payment processor CheckFree Corp. 17 months ago, which helped Fiserv expand its roster of online services it offers to banks. "At this point, we believe that the majority of the basic integration" from the CheckFree purchase "is behind us," Yabuki said. Fidelity faces a lot of "pick and shovel work" integrating its systems and capabilities with Metavante's, Yabuki predicted. "So we think that it's possible that they that others in the industry will not be quite as externally focused as we will." Fiserv's first-quarter earnings fell 69% from a year earlier, to $103 million, as revenue fell 20%, to $1.04 billion. The company cited declines in its home equity processing business and the sale of a 51% interest in its insurance operations in July. Adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations Fiserv's preferred method of measuring its results rose 10%, to 88 cents, topping the average estimate of analysts by 3 cents. The company affirmed that it expects full-year adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations to rise 10% to 14%, to a range of $3.61 to $3.75. This article can also be found at InsuranceNetworking.com.
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