The mutual termination last week of First Data’s planned $1 billion-plus acquisition of prepaid/gift card kingpin Interactive Communications (InComm) was a “step-child” of the credit crisis as well as First Data’s own immediate cash needs, according to Aite Group research director Gwenn Bezard.

First announced in April, the deal was intended to provide First Data with placement opportunities of its clients’ prepaid cards at more than 145,000 retail locations at Blockbuster and Starbucks stores. In place of the buyout, First Data and InComm have worked out a distribution agreement that will involve prepaid card processing support, program management and a distribution network that still allows First Data retail merchants to sell at InComm in-store prepaid displays.

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