“We are pleased with our 2018 results, which include acceleration of our internal revenue growth rate along with our 33rd consecutive year of double-digit adjusted earnings per share growth,” said Jeffery Yabuki, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fiserv. “Sales results in the quarter were our strongest in history setting us up for continuing growth expansion.”
Despite the earnings miss, Fiserv had Q4 earnings growth of 24%. Operating margin came in at 33.4%.
The company repurchased 25.5 million shares of common stock for $1.91 billion in 2018, which included 8.9 million shares of common stock for $689 million in the fourth quarter.
In January 2019, Fiserv was named one of FORTUNE Magazine World’s Most Admired Companies® for the sixth consecutive year. The company received high marks for its long-term investment value, financial soundness, people management and social responsibility, and was also noted for its use of corporate assets, quality of management and innovation.
Agreement to Merge with First Data Corporation
On January 16, 2019, Fiserv announced that it had entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire First Data Corporation in an all-stock transaction for an equity value of approximately $22 billion as of the announcement. The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2019 subject to customary closing conditions, regulatory approvals and shareholder approval for both companies. The corresponding press release and additional materials are available in the “Investor Relations” section of fiserv.com.
Outlook for 2019
Fiserv expects internal revenue growth in a range of 4.5 to 5 percent for 2019. The company also expects adjusted earnings per share in a range of $3.39 to $3.52, which represents growth of 10 to 14 percent, as adjusted for the Lending Transaction. The company’s outlook for 2019 does not include any impact related to its proposed transaction with First Data Corporation.
“We enter 2019 with strong momentum and a continuing focus on providing differentiated value for clients, associates and shareholders,” said Yabuki.