Total System Services Inc. shares inched upwards Monday afternoon despite an analyst report that said Wells Fargo & Co. has decided to shift the credit card portfolio it acquired with Wachovia Corp. last year to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.'s First Data Corp.
The Columbus, Ga., transaction processor cautioned months ago that such a move was possible but not inevitable. Philip W. Tomlinson, its chief executive, said in a January conference call that the decision could be to give TSYS Wells Fargo's card business.
At the same time, Tomlinson stressed that losing Wachovia would have only a minor impact on his company's earnings because its card business was not huge.
TSYS helped Wachovia introduce its credit card program in 2006 after MBNA Corp., which previously issued Wachovia's cards, was bought by Bank of America Corp. Wells bought Wachovia in December.
John Williams, an analyst at Macquarie Group, wrote in a note published Monday that even TSYS knew that winning the larger Wells Fargo portfolio "was a long shot in the current environment, as it was clear that Wells did not want to deal with a large-scale deconversion."
TSYS spokesman Cyle Mims wrote in an e-mail "We hate to lose any piece of business, but Wells decided to consolidate their card business under its master brand."
By Monday afternoon, TSYS shares were trading at $14.12, up 0.07% from Friday's closing price.