Bank technology stocks traded in a narrow range last week, with most issues drifting slightly lower in concert with the general market.
The Dow Jones industrial average, after flirting with breaking the 4000 level the week before, sagged to lose more than 100 points for the week as investors become preoccupied with prospect of' rising interest rates.
Payment processor First Financial Management Corp. emerged as the victor in a bidding war with First Data Corp. and investment banker Forstmann Little for Western Union Financial Services Inc., a unit of bankrupt New Valley Corp.
On Friday, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court selected First Financial's bid of $1.193 billion for Western Union, a bid that does not include the assumption of Western Union's pension liabilities.
Atlanta-based First Financial also had submitted a bid of $797 million that would have included the pension liabilities. an option that had the support of the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp., one of New Valley's largest creditors.
First Financial estimated the liability to be as much as $395 million.
The sale will be finalized following a court hearing scheduled for November 1.
Rick Weingarten, an analyst at Montgomery Securities in San Francisco, said he believed that despite the billion-dollar price tag, the acquisition will not negatively impact First' Financial's earnings per share.
He also said First Financial did not enter the bidding for Western Union simply to thwart rival First Data.
"You don't make a billiondollar acquisition just to spite somebody else," he said, adding that he sees a number of synergies between First Financial and Western Union, which provides money transfer and other services to "unbanked" consumers.
"For example, Western Union franchises cash checks for lowincome consumers, and First Financial already owns a check processing business," he noted.
First Financial stock closed at $56 per share Friday, down $2 for the week.
In other news, payment processor National Data Corp. announced sharp increases in revenues and earnings for the first fiscal quarter ended Aug. 31.
Atlanta-based National Data reported earnings for the threemonth period of $3.1 million, up 46% from the year-earlier quarter. Revenues hit $56 million, compared to $50.7 million in the first fiscal quarter of 1993.
National Data's common stock closed at $21.125 per share Friday, up $1.125 for the week.
Software and systems integrator American Management Systems Inc. announced its board of directors had approved a 3-for-2 stock split for stockholders of record on Oct. 7.
The number of outstanding shares in the Fairfax, Va.-based company will increase from 17.4 million to 26.1 million as a result of the stock split. American Management System's stock closed at $23.125 per share Friday, down $2 for the week.