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Paducah financial technology company CSI to be acquired in $1.6 billion deal

Computer Services Inc.

Paducah-based financial technology company Computer Systems Incorporated announced in a release Monday it’s being acquired by Centerbridge Partners LP and Bridgeport Partners in an all-cash deal valued at $1.6 billion dollars.

After the deal, the company – which says it provides payments processing for many local banks and credit unions, alongside other regulatory services, for nearly 2,600 customers across the U.S. and 30 other countries – will become privately held.

CEO and president David Culbertson says the deal will keep CSI’s headquarters in Paducah while accelerating its growth while providing a boon to shareholders.

“We have had a great deal of success in our 57 year history. And what this acquisition allows us to do is to continue that great tradition,” the president/CEO said in an interview Monday. “What this transaction also allows us to do is to make additional investment, both in the way we grow the business organically, but also in acquisitions that will permit us to take the company really to a new level in terms of what we're able to be.”

Culbertson doesn’t expect any personnel changes to impact the company’s just under 1,300 employees – 250 of which are employed at CSI’s Paducah headquarters.

“As far as what happens in the near term, very little is going to change our customers, our employees and the communities that we live and work in. [They] will see very little change in CSI,” he said. “The commitment that we have from the new owner group to stay in Paducah is substantial. Our commitment to this community is unwavering.”

CSI’s board of directors unanimously approved the deal. Company founder and Chairman Emeritus John A. Williams was among those who voted in favor of the transaction.

“Having formed CSI nearly six decades ago, I am pleased to support this transaction as it will provide shareholders with immediate cash at a compelling value premium,” Williams said. “In addition, I believe that our customers, employees and communities can rest assured that—based on their history—current management, Centerbridge and Bridgeport will continue CSI’s legacy.”

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022, pending shareholder approval and regulatory review. Stockholders are expected to receive $58 per share from the acquisition. The per-share purchase price represents a 53% premium to CSI’s closing stock price on the last full trading day before the agreement was announced.

The release describes Centerbridge Partners as “a global, multi-strategy private investment firm with deep experience investing in financial services and technology,” and Bridgeport Partners “a private investment firm with a long-term, value-oriented approach.”

Representatives from each of the acquiring firms expressed optimism for CSI’s future in the release.

“Supporting high-quality companies is central to our strategy at Centerbridge, and we have a deep track record of doing so in both financial services and technology,” said Jared Hendricks, senior managing director at Centerbridge and Ben Jaffe, managing director at Centerbridge. “We are excited to work with CSI, as we share a like-minded commitment to innovation for customers and satisfaction for employees.”

Bridgeport founder Frank Martire said he’s followed CSI “closely for decades.”

“CSI has always been known for its commitment to its customers, employees, partners and the communities it serves—a reputation that Centerbridge and Bridgeport are committed to maintaining while we work together with David and his team to implement the company’s growth initiatives,” Martire said.

CSI is a financial contributor to WKMS.

A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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