Payment Alliance International has acquired Comdata Processing Systems' merchant processing business, which includes 5,000 merchant locations and more than 50 independent sales organizations.

Existing Comdata clients will have access to Payment Alliance International's products and services under the agreement, the buyer said Wednesday.

Payment Alliance, of Louisville, said it intends to retain "the majority" of Comdata personnel at its operations in Louisville and Brentwood, Tenn. Comdata is a subsidiary of another Louisville company, Stored Value Solutions, a provider of gift card products and services.

"It might be a good time to be acquiring a merchant portfolio," says Adil Moussa, an analyst with Aite Group LLC. The difficult economy likely has reduced the value, and therefore the cost, of many portfolios, he said.

However, there likely are a higher number of merchants in poor financial standing among portfolios as well, Moussa said. "It's a good time to buy, but you have to be careful about what you are buying."

Payment Alliance serves more than 60,000 customers nationwide.

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