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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Aug. 1, 201905:20 AM EST

FIS acquisition of Worldpay sets stage for potential riverfront development

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Jacksonville-based company completed its $43 billion acquisition Wednesday.

By Mark Basch and Karen Brune Mathis

Fortune 500 company Fidelity National Information Services Inc., or FIS, completed its $43 billion acquisition of Worldpay Inc. on Wednesday, setting the stage for potential riverfront development.

The combination of Jacksonville-based FIS, which provides technology for financial institutions, and Cincinnati-based Worldpay, which provides payment services, will have more than $12 billion in annual revenue and 55,000 employees worldwide.

“This transformative combination significantly enhances the scale, portfolio and global footprint of FIS to help our clients capitalize on growth opportunities at a time of rapid marketplace change,” FIS Chief Executive Gary Norcross said in a news release.

FIS in March agreed to pay $11 in cash and issue 0.9287 shares of FIS for each of Worldpay’s 311 million outstanding shares.

Based on Tuesday’s closing price for FIS, the value of the deal was more than $43 billion.

FIS stockholders overwhelmingly approved the deal at a special meeting last week.

More than 99% of about 274 million FIS shares voted in favor of measures to complete the deal.

FIS is based along the riverfront at 601 Riverside Ave., near a site that the city has targeted for development.

Two deals are pending that would make 5.71 acres available for a project in the 300 block of Riverside Avenue on land owned by Florida Blue and its parent company, GuideWell, and by Fidelity National Financial Inc., known as FNF.

FNF spun off FIS in 2006.

Florida Blue owns 4.5 acres at 323 Riverside Ave. that it uses for parking. The Downtown Investment Authority proposes a land swap that would give the city that property in exchange for public land across the street and assistance to build a parking garage. 

It offers a $3.5 million grant to help build a $22.5 million parking deck on city-owned land at Forest and Park streets. The land would be transferred to Florida Blue/GuideWell at the appraised value. 

FNF owns 1.21 acres among two parcels at 347 Riverside Ave. and Alfred Dupont Place, including the closed Fire Station No. 5. The city proposes to buy that land for $2.6 million.

As FIS was negotiating to buy Worldpay and as the Riverside property proposals emerged, questions arose whether the land was being prepared for a corporate headquarters for FIS.

FIS employs 1,400 people in Jacksonville and is expected to add more with the Worldpay acquisition.

Asked previously about the possibility of building a headquarters building at the site, FIS Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Kim Snider said the Worldpay acquisition creates a $12 billion global company.

“As a result, we expect we will have continued growth in our Jacksonville-based employee population prompting us to explore multiple options that can accommodate our growth plans,” she said, not confirming the headquarters project.

Brian Hughes, Mayor Lenny Curry’s chief administrative officer and former interim DIA CEO, told the authority previously that the riverfront land used by Florida Blue will not continue to be a surface parking lot.

“If for some reason the ownership changed, it would be precluded from being a surface lot,” Hughes told the DIA board.

The DIA is scheduled to meet Wednesday.

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