Alltel Information Services Inc. made a major move into the wholesale banking systems market with the acquisition of Vertex Business Systems Inc., an international banking software provider.

Terms were not disclosed.

Vertex, well-known in Europe, was 51% owned by WestLB, a leading German bank. The remainder of the company had been held by Vertex's executives.

The company now becomes part of Alltel's information services- international division, which handles retail, commercial, and wholesale banking.

The acquisition is Alltel's first foray into wholesale services for large banks.

Stephen R. Bova, international division president, said the acquisition fulfills Alltel's main objective, which is to be a major supplier to the wholesale banking community.

Though Little Rock-based Alltel - formerly known as Systematics Information Services Inc. - has long maintained a presence in this market, the company has served primarily smaller banks in the past. "The synergy created by the alliance of our two organizations will enable us to expand the Systematics product and services portfolio and substantially grow our already significant international financial services businesses," Mr. Bova said.

Jurgen Sengera, member of the managing board of WestLB, said the partnership will help Vertex to manage the significant growth it has experienced as demand for its products has increased in recent years.

The New York-based company - with offices in London, Dusseldorf, Germany, and Frankfurt - has 11 European bank customers. Its software is installed in 31 locations in 17 countries.

"We felt it was essential to partner with a larger specialist organization that has a successful track record in delivering technology solutions to banking organizations," Mr. Sengera said.

The acquisition gives Alltel its first clients in Austria, Brazil, Hungary, and Luxembourg.

The international market makes up 7% to 8% of Alltel's business, Mr. Bova said. He said the Vertex acquisition will boost Alltel's existing international revenue by 30%.

Vertex develops and supplies multicurrency software for dealing rooms, treasury departments, and commercial operations of international banks. The systems support trading in all cash, paper-based, and derivative instruments and provide the full range of wholesale banking applications.

The software is designed to run on both mainframe computers and on Unix or PC-based workstations in a distributed, client/server environment.

Alltel Information, a unit of Alltel Corp., plans to offer both in-house and service bureau versions of the Vertex product.

Executives from WestLB, formally Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale will continue to serve on Vertex's advisory board.

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