Advent International, a Boston private-equity firm founded in 1984, has shifted from its initial plan of investing in troubled banks to a focus on banks' back-office technology, specifically transaction processing businesses.

The financial sponsor firm's interest in payment processing businesses is tied to expectations that the electronic transaction industry will benefit from a pickup in consumer and corporate spending. Industry participants say the volume of transactions processed over the last two years declined as the economic downturn and job losses undercut discretionary spending.

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