Vista Exits TransFirst

Vista Exits TransFirst

trans first f1TransFirst, a portfolio company of Vista Equity Partners, has agreed to be sold to publicly traded TSYS in an all-cash transaction that values the company at approximately $2.35 billion. Vista acquired TransFirst for $1.5 billion in November 2014 from Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe which in turn acquired the company from GTCR in June 2007. The sale to TSYS is expected to close by the end of June 2016.

trans first bf12TransFirst is a credit-card and payments processor that serves small and medium-sized businesses including  software vendors, health care providers, not-for-profit entities, banks and e-commerce companies. TransFirst has approximately 1,000 employees and operating facilities in Aurora, CO; Broomfield, CO; Franklin, TN; and Cypress, CA. TransFirst is led by John Shlonsky, President and CEO, and is headquartered on Long Island in Hauppauge, NY (

TSYS (previously Total System Services) is a credit-card and payments processor that serves more than 235,000 small and medium-sized businesses. The buy of TransFirst is the largest acquisition in the company’s history and will make TSYS the 6th largest US credit-card and payments processor with more than 645,000 merchant outlets.  TSYS (NYSE: TSS) is based south of Atlanta in Columbus, GA (

Effective with the closing of the transaction, Mark Pyke, senior executive vice president and president of the TSYS Merchant segment, will be leaving TSYS after six years of service. Mr. Shlonsky will assume his duties and responsibilities for the combined businesses.

robert smith nf1 vista“We are grateful to John Shlonsky and the TransFirst team for their strong partnership, during which time they created a leader in payment solutions. We are proud of the company’s tremendous growth under our ownership and believe the combination with TSYS’s merchant business will create a strong platform for accelerating TransFirst’s future growth trajectory,” said Robert Smith, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Vista Equity Partners.

Vista Equity Partners has more than $14 billion in committed capital and makes equity investments in software, data and technology-enabled companies. The firm was founded in 2000 and has over 50 investment professionals operating out of San Francisco, Chicago and Austin (

Bank of America Merrill Lynch ( and GCA Savvian Advisors ( are acting as financial advisors to TSYS.  First Annapolis Consulting ( is the strategic advisor to TSYS.

Credit Suisse (, Goldman Sachs ( and J.P. Morgan ( are acting as financial advisors and Kirkland & Ellis ( is acting as legal advisor to TransFirst and Vista.

© 2016 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 1-28-16

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