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Tech scale
Fiserv will acquire First Data in an all-stock deal with a value of about $22 billion that will combine two of the financial services industry's largest technology and processing companies. Fiserv shareholders will own almost 58 percent of the combined company, with First Data's shareholders holding the rest. The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2019.

The combined company will be called Fiserv; and current Fiserv President and CEO Jeffery Yabuki will be CEO and chairman. Current First Data Chairman and CEO Frank Bisignano will be president and chief operating officer.

Both companies have been adding new technology to adjust to the expansion of digital financial services that have threatened traditional business models for companies that service financial transactions. It's an environment that challenges these companies despite their considerable size, and has put pressure on companies such as Ingenico, which traditionally thrived in a plastic card-centered commerce system.

The growth of e-commerce and digital has helped relatively smaller companies that serve that model, such as Square and Stripe, and is forcing the larger established companies to team up and diversify to create larger umbrellas to add a larger and more automated menu of services to lure banks and merchants that no longer want multiple vendor relationships.
PayPal's ticket
Sports ticketing is an important way way to build consumer habits that drive adoption of new payments technology, making PayPal's agreement with AXS a major deal for both parties.

PayPal will be the official digital payment provider for AXS, a Los Angeles-based data, ticketing and marketing company that has more than 200 sports teams, facilities, theaters, clubs and universities in the U.S. and Europe as clients.

The collaboration also boosts AXS Mobile ID, a digital ID ticketing platform which allows fans to enter venues via mobile devices without requiring paper or PDF tickets.

Opening Canada
Canada's open banking committee has entered the consultation phase which could result in the adoption of PSD2-style regulations that facilitate the sharing of information between banks and third parties such as mobile payment apps.

The Canadian committee is soliciting input from Canadian companies and other parties on the benefits and challenges of open banking, with a focus on privacy, security and stability.

Another study and consultation later this year will cover implementation opportunities and challenge.

Pointing fingers
Russia's Sberbank often dabbles in transaction technology and cryptocurrency, making its latest move into fingerprint payments a natural fit.

The bank is collaborating with Azbuka Vkusa, a Russian supermarket, to enable consumers to pay via finger biometrics.

The bank has upgraded 20 percent of its branches to register user biometric data, which qualifies Sberbank to participate in a Russian program to collect ID information for a unified identity system, reports Finextra.

Fast director
The U.S. Faster Payments Council, which pushes cooperation to build faster processing, has named Kevin Christensen at acting executive director and interim board chair.

Christensen is a senior vice president at the Shazam debit network and was part of the group that formed the FPC.

The group in the coming months will focus on security, transparency and public awareness of near-real time processing and digital transactions.

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