Electronic Payment Services Inc., the Wilmington, Del.-based company that operates the MAC automated teller machine network, intends to add up to four new equity partners in the next few years.

Speaking at a transaction processing seminar in New York, company chairman and chief executive David Van Lear said he views 10 equity partners as the optimum size for the company, which was formed in 1992.

The company's ownership base is unlikely to grow beyond that point, he added.

With more than 10 owners, "you start looking like an association, so I think we'll stick it out." An association's goals may run counter to EPS's main focus, which is to generate a profit.

Cash Less Important

Mr. Van Lear expects one new owner in 1995, and two or three companies could gain stakes in 1996 and 1997. He said that the system would value a prospective owner's possession of transaction traffic or a processing network more than its ability to make a large cash payment.

The company currently has four owners: Banc One Corp., CoreStates Financial Corp., Key Corp., and PNC Bank Corp. Two institutions are awaiting final approval of their stakes: Mellon Bank Corp. and National City Corp.

As it stands now, five of these six banks would own 19.3% of EPS with National City taking a 3.5% position.

However, National City has the option to buy a share equal to the other owners'.

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