The pending – and pending, and pending – $15 billion buyout of Fidelity National may restart an old private equity love affair with financial technology companies.
Financial technology, or fintech, includes everything from processing companies to stock exchanges. It includes the companies that make all the software that moves the modern financial system. It is one of those sectors that private equity lavished money on this decade, as technology fueled the globalization of finance. Think bank processing deals, like First Data ($29b), Sungard ($11.3b) and Ceridian ($5.3b).
These processing and outsourcing companies have the one thing that private equity cannot resist: Regular revenue streams and strong cash flow, even in recessions. Portfolio companies need cash flow to pay off their LBO-incurred debt, and there are few other sectors who can promise that kind of regularity.