Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems announces pans to go private following a deal to be acquired by Blackstone Capital Partners for about $7.8 billion in cash and debt assumption. VISA officially names Joe Saunders as Chairman and CEO of VISA Inc. NJ-based American Banknote acquires Boston-based Arthur Blank & Company. Blizzard Entertainment and First National Bank Omaha partner to launch a series of VISA credit cards for the “World of Warcraft” online game. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission authorizes the installation of “Credit Card Acceptance Capability” payment systems in taxi cabs. GTCR has signed a deal to sell TransFirst to Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe for $683 million. NY-based Debt Resolve has signed a deal to acquire Buffalo-based Creditors Interchange for $64 million. VeriSign and Innovative Card Technologies team to launch a smarter payment card that features built-in identity authentication. First Data makes a strategic investment in ViVOtech. Heartland Bank becomes an issuer of “Discover Network Cards.” MasterCard has teamed with TRX to develop the “MasterCard Travel Dashboard,” a Web-based business intelligence tool that will enable companies to evaluate, analyze and optimize travel programs. NY-based National Envelope Corporation unveils card sleeves and mailing envelopes to help shield contactless payment cards in transit. Ceridian terminates Gary Krow, EVP of Ceridian and President of Comdata for violations of Ceridian’s “Code of Conduct.” American Express set-ups a partnership with American Home Mortgage Corp. to enable prime mortgage customers to charge their mortgage payments to an AmEx card.