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Hauppauge's TransFirst files for IPO

A photo of the exterior of 1393 Veterans

A photo of the exterior of 1393 Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppage where TransFirst, one of the largest providers of secure payment processing has its headquarters, among other companies on Aug. 4, 2014. Credit: Newsday / Thomas Ferrara

TransFirst Inc., a Hauppauge-based credit card processor, has filed for an initial public offering that could raise as much as $100 million, according to a government filing.

The filing comes after an IPO drought by Long Island companies dating to November 2010, when Plainview-based electronics maker Aeroflex Holding Corp. returned to the public markets following a private equity buyout.

TransFirst, which processed more than $48 billion in transactions from about 200,000 merchants in 2013, according to the filing, is owned by Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, a Manhattan private equity firm. Welsh, Carson, which acquired TransFirst for $683 million in 2007, would retain a controlling interest after an IPO.

A spokeswoman for TransFirst, which has 1,018 employees, including about 50 at an 18,000-square-foot leased office on Veterans Memorial Highway, declined to comment on the Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The company also has facilities in Dallas and Broomfield, Colorado. Welsh, Carson did not immediately respond to inquiries.

David Calone, president and chief executive of Jove Equity Partners, a Setauket venture capital firm, said that a Long Island IPO would embolden investors in the region's startups.

"We haven't had that on Long Island for a long time," he said. "It gives those of us investing in the next generation of companies some confidence that there can be a pathway to success that can be achieved on Long Island."

In the filing, which was made public last week, TransFirst reported net income of $2.3 million on revenue of $280.6 million in the quarter ended March 31, versus a net of $613,000 on $248.3 million in revenue in the year-earlier period.

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., Goldman, Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. are listed as the deal's underwriters.

In 2012, Welsh, Carson reportedly put TransFirst up for auction, but no buyer emerged. The peHUB financial blog, quoting unnamed sources, said Friday that Welsh, Carson may consider bids from corporate or private equity buyers as it pursues the newly filed IPO.

TransFirst, founded as ACS Merchant Services in 1995, grew its business in part through acquisitions, according to its website, including Bank of America Merchant Services Inc., which added $3 billion in annual processing volume, and Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions' Third Party Sales Merchant Division, which added $7.5 billion.

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