Former VeriFone CEO, GTCR to Invest $500 Million in Opus

Former VeriFone Systems Inc. Chief Executive Officer Douglas Bergeron has partnered with private-equity firm GTCR to invest as much as $500 million to buy financial-industry assets and companies.

The partnership, called Opus Global Holdings LLC, plans to use acquisitions to build a company focused on payments, risk-and-compliance services and trading systems, Bergeron said in an interview. Opus plans to buy assets from financial institutions and may also consider assets from VeriFone, a maker of credit-card and debit-card terminals, he said.

“Anything is possible, if they had a business we thought was interesting,” said Bergeron, 52, who will serve as Opus’s chairman and CEO in Palo Alto, California. “In the future, if VeriFone stumbles further, I don’t want to exclude VeriFone, either.”

GTCR plans to put as much as $450 million in Opus, Bergeron said, adding that he will invest as much as $50 million in the venture. Opus, which has discussed joining forces with other private-equity firms, could target companies worth as much as several billion dollars, he said.

VeriFone has lost about half its value since April 2012 because of product delays, among other reasons. Some analysts have said VeriFone is an acquisition target for private equity.

Andy Payment, a spokesman at VeriFone, declined to comment.

VeriFone’s Path

Bergeron grew VeriFone after helping Gores Technology Group acquire the unit from Hewlett-Packard Co. Bergeron was CEO of VeriFone from 2001 until earlier this year, when the board dismissed him after the San Jose, California-based company missed estimates for second-quarter profit. He is VeriFone’s largest individual shareholder with a 0.75 percent stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Bergeron has worked with GTCR before, notably in 2002 when he received backing from GTCR Golder Rauner LLC to expand VeriFone. GTCR, a Chicago-based private-equity firm, manages more than $8 billion. Since 1980, it has invested more than $10 billion in more than 200 companies, according to its website.

Bergeron is also a co-investor and board member of Fundtech Inc., a New York-based transaction-banking systems company that was acquired by GTCR in 2011.

Opus plans to take advantage of increased fragmentation of the financial industry, and large corporate clients’ desire to work with service providers with a variety of offerings, Bergeron said.

“It’s a fundamentally great business,” Bergeron said. “It might look like a checkered collection of assets, but the idea is to become the next great financial technology business.”

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