Willis Stein sells banking IT company for $305m

The Chicago-based private equity firm has agreed to sell Aurum Technology to Fidelity National Financial, a national provider of products and outsourced services to financial institutions and the real estate industry.

Chicago-based private equity firm Willis Stein & Partners has agreed to sell banking information technology company Aurum Technology to publicly traded Fidelity National Financial for $305 million (€240 million).


Under the terms of the agreement, approximately $175 million will be provided in cash and $130 million in Fidelity stock, according to the press statement. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2004.


Plano, Texas-based Aurum provides outsourced and in-house information technology software for the community bank and credit union markets. Some of its main services include check imaging, ATM procession and branch automation. Aurum currently services more than 1,100 customers and reported revenues of $193 million in 2003, according to the statement.


Willis Stein originally acquired Aurum in December 1999 from EDS’ Community Banking Services Division for an undisclosed amount.


Jacksonville, Florida-based Fidelity, which had more than $7.7 billion million in revenues and $860 million in earnings in 2003, provides IT software to financial institutions and the mortgage and financial services industries through its subsidiary Fidelity Information Services. According to the statement, Fidelity’s acquisition will allow it to offer its applications to every segment of the financial services market.


“The acquisition more than doubles our existing community bank customer base, and Aurum’s 600 credit union customers make FNF one of the largest providers of technology-based business solutions to this key market segment,” Fidelity chairman and chief executive officer William Foley, II, said in the statement.


Willis Stein & Partners makes investments in the consumer products and services, media, telecommunications, business services, manufacturing and health care industries.  The firm currently manages approximately $3 billion in equity, including its $1.8 billion third fund that closed back in June 2001. Its most recent acquisition took place in July, when Willis Stein bought international multimedia wholesaler Baker & Taylor Corp. from The Carlyle Group for $255 million in cash.