Peace to be acquired

Deal to close later this year

US e-payment and e-commerce provider First Data announced last week that it will acquire New Zealand utilities billing software maker Peace Software.

According to a statement from First Data, "the acquisition of Peace is the cornerstone of First Data's strategy to provide a comprehensive, integrated, meter-to-meter cash solution to the global utilities market".

First Data anticipates closing the deal in the third quarter of this year.

Peace was founded in the 1980s by New Zealander Brian Peace and later shifted its sales operation to the US, while retaining its research and development function in New Zealand.

In April last year, it was forced to lay off 54 staff in the wake of a lull following a major deal with US energy utility Xcel. Plans to open R&D centres in Australia and the US were put on hold, as was the development of new modules.

Despite those setbacks, Peace has continued to win new business, examples being a win at Irish power utility Airtricity in May 2005, a contract with Australian power provider Service Essentials in January and a contract with the Hawaiian Electric Company in April.

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