Global Payments Inc. has completed its investigation into the breach earlier this year of card data belonging to up to 1.5 million consumers, the merchant processor said today while reporting fiscal fourth-quarter earnings.

The personal information of certain merchants also may have been exposed.

With the completion of the investigation, Global Payments is taking a pretax charge of $84.4 million for the quarter and the full fiscal year, the company said in its earnings release. The quarter and its fiscal 2012 ended May 31.

The figure "includes an estimate of charges from the card brands and" the cost of "investigation and remediation expenses," the processor said. "A qualified security assessor is conducting the independent review required to return the company to the lists of PCI-compliant service providers."

Global Payments also announced it has signed an agreement to acquire the remaining 44% interest in the Asia-Pacific merchant-processing joint venture it has with HSBC for $242 million. Global Payments plans to use existing cash and lines of credit to complete the transaction. It anticipates the deal will close during the second quarter of fiscal 2013.

Global Payments and HSBC formed the joint venture, Global Payments Asia Pacific Ltd., in 2006.

During its fourth quarter, Global Payments says it earned $597 million in revenue, up 14.9% from $519.8 million during the same period last year. Net income attributable to the company was $5.1 million, down 91% from $58.6 million.

By region, U.S. revenue totaled $351.9 million, up 25% from $281.5 million; Canadian revenue fell 9.3%, to $79 million from $87.1 million.

European revenue totaled $128.5 million, up 11.4% from $115.4 million, while Asia-Pacific revenue was up 5%, to $37.6 million from $35.8 million.

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