VeriFone Holdings Inc. has changed its name. The point-of-sale terminal maker now is called VeriFone Systems Inc.,  the San Jose, Calif.-based company announced May 18.

The “Holdings” name dated to the 1990s, when the Hewlett-Packard Co. owned VeriFone, a company spokesperson says. The name change better reflects VeriFone’s business identity, CEO Douglas G. Bergeron said in a press release.

Founded in the early 1980s, VeriFone grew as its Zon and Tranz lines of simple, reliable terminals helped hundreds of thousands of merchants convert from slow and cumbersome paper-based transactions to electronics payments.

VeriFone was publicly held from 1990 to 1997, when computer giant Hewlett-Packard paid nearly $1.3 billion in stock for the company in hopes of exploiting its smart card expertise and payment technology. Internet mania was near its peak, and VeriFone was hot, with 1996 revenues of $472.5 million. VeriFone generated $844.7 million in revenue in fiscal 2009, which ended Oct. 31.

Analysts hypothesized consumers soon would be using smart-card reading H-P computers to shop online instead of visiting the corner store. The deal was a disaster for H-P, as reality set in regarding the U.S. chip card market and how consumers preferred to pay online, and the two corporate cultures failed to mesh.

H-P eventually sold VeriFone in 2001 for $164.6 million to Gores Technology Group LLC, led by Bergeron. In 2002, Bergeron teamed with Chicago-based equity investor GTCR Golder Rauner LLC to recapitalize VeriFone with GTCR as the majority stockholder. GTCR has since sold its shares in the company.

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