The John H. Harland Co. announced last week it has signed a big contract with Intuit Inc. to produce checks for Intuit's top-selling Quicken financial software.
Harland officials did not disclose the value of the deal, but they said it will make Menlo Park, Calif.-based Intuit their second-largest customer.
There are seven million users of Intuit's Quicken, making up about 70% of the personal finance software market. And while financial software makers like Intuit and Microsoft Corp. offer electronic bill payment services with their packages, most users still crank out paper checks from their printers. These specialized checks are most often ordered through the software companies themselves, and have become a significant source of their revenue.
"More and more consumers are using computers to manage their finances and write their checks," said Earl Rogers, Harland's executive vice president in charge of its financial services group. "In the late '80s, Harland began offering its checks through new channels, one of those being the financial software market. This is part of our long-term strategy of targeting today's consumers wherever they shop, be it in traditional or emerging marketplaces."
In connection with the Intuit contract Harland officials also announced it acquired the assets of Dataprint Inc., for an undisclosed amount of cash.
Located in suburban Seattle, Dataprint is a leader in the production of computer-compatible forms and a major supplier to Intuit.
When the acquisition is complete, Harland will be Intuit's sole supplier of checks.
The acquisition will also enhance Harland's manufacturing efficiencies and distribution channels, according to Robert R. Woodson, Harland's chairman, chief executive officer, and president.
"I am delighted with both our expanded involvement with Intuit and the acquisition of Dataprint, which gives us a strategic advantage in the personal finance software market."
According to Woodson, the acquired entity will be known as Harland Dataprint Inc. It will be headed by Martin Kerner, current president of Dataprint.