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CheckFree Acquires BlueGill for $250 Million

Electronic billing provider CheckFree Holdings Tuesday bought billing software pioneer BlueGill Technologies for about $250 million in stock.

CheckFree (CKFR) will absorb BlueGill's open standards-based biller software products and business-to-consumer and business-to-business software solutions. Bluegill also brings its international reach to CheckFree's e-billing and payment network in addition to a host of domestic partnerships.

CheckFree and BlueGill will work together to acclerate clients' ability to make its content available more quickly. CheckFree hopes the speed of service will lure more customers for the billers, banks and Internet portals that offer content.

Bluegill's components of the electronic billing and payment process include:

  • Creating an electronic bill from data stored in systems designed to generate paper bills
  • Making electronic bills available on the Internet at the biller's Web site, and at Web sites hosted by a variety of financial services information and transaction providers, including financial institutions, brokerage firms and service bureaus
  • Managing the payment process between consumers' checking accounts and billers' accounts receivable systems
  • Providing event tracking and customer service and support for each of these steps.

CheckFree President and Chief Operating Officer Pete Sinisgalli said BlueGill was chosen for its reputation as being the first software billing system designed with XML, which is considered the standard for data exchanged over the Net.

CheckFree services enable three million consumers to receive and pay bills over the Internet or electronically. Founded as an electronic payments processor in 1981, CheckFree launched the first fully integrated electronic billing and payment solution, CheckFree E-Bill, in March 1997.

In September, CheckFree moved to diminish consumer concerns about security online by launching the CheckFree Guarantee Program to help its financial services and billing partners promote customer confidence in online bill payment.