Paychex Lands NOVA CEO as Board Member

Rochester, NY-based Paychex has elected Pamela Joseph, chairman of U.S. Bancorp Payment Services and CEO of Atlanta-based NOVA Information Systems, as a board member. Joseph joined NOVA in 1994 as vice president of marketing. She held various senior management positions during her tenure before assuming her current role as chairman and CEO in November 2004. NOVA processes approximately $125 billion annually in payment services transactions, generating more than $1 billion in annualized revenues. Before joining NOVA, Joseph was director of new market development for VISA International. Joseph holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Advanta Expects 06 Card Income of $120MM+

Advanta said it expects its business cards unit to post 2006 pretax income between $120 million to $125 million. These amounts include an estimated increase in operating expenses of approximately $5 million associated with expensing stock options under the new accounting requirement effective January 1, 2006. During 2006, owned and managed receivables are expected to grow between 10% and 20%, while transaction volume is expected to increase between 15% and 20%. Advanta focuses on the small business market and related community, providing funding and support to the nation’s small businesses and business professionals and is one of the nation’s largest issuers (through Advanta Bank Corp.) of MasterCard business credit cards to small businesses.

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Starwood Cardholders Get Le Meridien Access

Starwood Hotels, which has a major co-branding deal with American Express, has acquired Le Meridien Hotels. Starwood Hotels has also entered into management agreements for the owned and leased Le Meridien properties to be acquired by Starwood Capital and Lehman with such hotels continuing to be operated under their current flags. The owned and leased portfolio is made up of 32 luxury, four/five star hotels located primarily across Europe but also in North America, Africa, and South America. Overall, the portfolio consists of over 8,000 hotel rooms in 16 countries. Starwood Hotels holds a market value in excess of $15 billion with ownership of brands such as Westin, Sheraton, “W”, St. Regis, Luxury Collection and Four Points.

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HSBC Mulls a Bid for LG Card

HSBC is reportedly mulling a $10 billion offer for LG Card. HSBC previously approached the Korean Development Bank about a possible deal for LG Card. KDB turned down the offer earlier this year. JP Morgan Chase has been retained to find a buyer for LG. KDB and other creditors are seeking to unload their combined 51% stake in LG Card by the end of this year. The expected sale price is expected to be in the 5 trillion won range. LG Card has posted four consecutive quarters of solid profitability. In the third quarter of 2004, the issuer reported a 46.8 billion won loss. Since then, LG Card has earned 1.47 trillion won. In the first quarter of this year, the issuer earned 479.8 billion won. For complete details on LG Card’s latest performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Metavante Completes its LINK2GOV Acquisition

Metavante has completed its acquisition, announced in September, of LINK2GOV. The company will become a Metavante subsidiary, and continue to operate under the LINK2GOV name. LINK2GOV is a provider of online phone and point-of-sale payment processing services, including credit and debit solutions. Metavante Corporation provides banking and payment technologies to financial services firms and businesses worldwide.

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Transaction Volume to Peak Dec 24 Afternoon

An analysis of transaction data indicates that the busiest hour this year may be between 1 pm to 2 pm EST on Saturday, December 24th. According to MasterCard International, a detailed analysis of historical transaction data shows that yesterday could be the most slowest shopping day of the year. A recent survey by Impulse Research, commissioned by MasterCard, reveals that the 67% of consumers cited “Black Friday” as the busiest, while 15% said the Saturday before Christmas. However, historical transaction data from MasterCard shows that in 2004, the day after Thanksgiving was actually the sixth busiest day of last year’s shopping season, and Thursday, December 23rd was the busiest shopping day.

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AmEx Adds Watanabe to its Global Ad Campaign

American Express has added actor Ken Watanabe to its global “My Life. My Card” program. The print ads in the U.S. will start today and the television spot will premiere in the U.S. on December 5th during “CSI Miami.” Watanabe’s TV ad first debuted in his native country, Japan, on November 8th. Watanabe was nominated for “Best Supporting Actor Academy Award” in 2004 for his portrayal of the warrior Kasumoto in the “The Last Samurai.” The first phase of the AmEx “My Life. My Card” campaign launched in November 2004 featuring Robert De Niro, Ellen DeGeneres, Laird Hamilton and Tiger Woods. The campaign is the company’s first ever umbrella campaign to support all issuers of American Express-branded cards.

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MBNA SONY MC

Sony of Canada has selected MBNA Canada to issue the “Sony Mastercard”.
The card features a no-annual-fee and offers Platinum card benefits and a rewards program that earns cardholders points every time they use
the card. One point is awarded for every dollar spent on the card and
two points for every dollar spent purchasing Sony products. As an added
bonus, the Sony Card awards new members 2,000 additional “Sony Points”
upon the first qualifying visit. Points can be exchanged for Sony
products. MBNA Canada is the leading provider of co-branded and affinity credit card programs in Canada and one of the largest MasterCard issuers in the country.

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Fote Retires as FDC CEO; Duques Returns

First Data’s current CEO is retiring for personal reasons and its former CEO is returning to run the company for the next two years. Charles Fote has been CEO since 2002 and Chairman since 2003. He will continue as Chairman until year-end and as a Director until the 2006 Annual Meeting. He will also serve as a consultant for the next eighteen months. Fote joined the company that is now First Data in 1975, and was named President and COO in late 1998. Ric Duques, long-time chief executive, will lead the company for approximately two years while the Board evaluates possible candidates. Duques had served as a Board member of First Data from 1992 until 2004. He was Chairman and CEO from 1992 to 2002, and continued as Chairman from 2002 to 2003. Before First Data was spun out of American Express in 1992, Duques had been President and CEO of the Data Based Services Group of American Express since 1987. (CF Library 2/7/01)

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Hbc Directors Reject Take Over Bid by Heritage

The Board of Directors of Hudson’s Bay Company has unanimously
recommended that shareholders and debenture holders reject the
unsolicited takeover bid by Maple Leaf Heritage Investments Acquisition
Corporation for all outstanding common shares and all of the
outstanding 7.50% convertible debentures of Hbc.
In a Directors’ Circular that is being mailed to shareholders and
debenture holders today, Hbc’s Board unanimously recommends the
rejection of Heritage’s offers based on a number of factors, including
the common share offer does not reflect the underlying value of Hbc’s
business and
the offer for the common shares does not provide shareholders with an
appropriate change of control premium. Additionally, the consideration
offered under the common share offer is financially inadequate. Hbc has a large and profitable credit program with approximately $1.1 billion in receivables and a loyalty program with over 8 million customers.

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Schumer Seeks More Retail Card Disclosure

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is releasing a survey today on New York retail store credit cards and is calling on the FTC to require retailers to offer more disclosure in their offerings. The Schumer study of 23 retailers found that Sears charged the highest interest rate of 24.15%, while Kohls offered the lowest interest rate of 12.99%. The research also showed that most retailers offer a 25-day grace period but Kohls only gave 10 days and Pottery Barn only gave 4 to 5 days to clear the balance to avoid finance charges. Schumer said his letter to the FTC will also ask retailers to stop marketing to college students and young adults. The Senator sponsored a bill that was signed into law in 1988 that requires a disclosure chart on all bank-issued credit card applications. The chart is known as the “Schumer Box.”

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PETRO-POINTS MC & PAYPASS

MasterCard’s contactless “PayPass” technology is coming to Canada via
Citi Cards Canada and Petro-Canada. The new payment option will be
available to a select number of “Citi PETRO-POINTS MasterCard”
cardholders for use at participating Petro-Canada stations in
Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton and Etobicoke, Ontario.
A full roll-out for all “Citi PETRO-POINTS” cardholders is planned for
next year. The no-fee “Citi PETRO-POINTS MasterCard” was launched in
September 2004. It is the first general purpose credit card in Canada
that provides an instant savings of two cents per liter on the purchase
of gasoline and diesel fuel at Petro-Canada, while also offering
“PETRO-POINTS” on all credit card purchases. MasterCard has implemented
several “PayPass” closed market trials in Canada.

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